The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) have announced an ambitious new research partnership to develop practical soil biology management guidance.
The five-year partnership looks to improve on-farm understanding of soil health by benchmarking current academic and industry knowledge, developing and validating indicators of soil biology and soil health in research trials and integrating a far-reaching knowledge exchange programme throughout the five-year programme.
This forms an important part of AHDB’s strategic commitment to accelerating innovation and productivity growth through coordinated research and development and knowledge exchange.
The new £1 million project is part of the AHDB GREATsoils programme, complementing a £1.5 million initiative looking at soil structure, announced by AHDB last year.
Dr Elizabeth Stockdale, partnership lead from NIAB, said: “We recognise that there are already a broad range of novel soil health management strategies being used in an array of production systems; we want to bring together the best research and the most effective practical approaches on-farm by establishing up to eight farmer research innovation groups across the UK so we can help farmers develop their own site-specific best practice.”
Farmers and growers are invited to take part in the project launch events which will:
- Summarise the state-of-the-art research in soil biology and health and ask for input on the best ways to share this information with the grower on the ground
- Present a proposed “soil health scorecard” and seek feedback ahead of piloting through the farmer-research innovation groups
- Listen to the questions of farmers and growers; identify challenges and opportunities that the programme should tackle in soil biology and soil health on-farm
- Explain how farmers and growers can get involved in the farmer-research innovation groups
- Will commence with workshops intended to engage farmers and growers to develop a programme of activity that will meet the needs of the industry.
The Managing Soil Health Workshops will take place on:
Monday 13 November – 10:00am to 3:30pm
Cockle Park Farm, Newcastle University, Morpeth NE61 3EB