Soil rich in biodiversity will increase your production. Soil also plays a vital function in the decomposition of organic matter, filtering and storing water and storing carbon. With regards to the latter, soils are estimated to store 80% of the carbon present on land. With soils providing so many essential services, it is important that we take care of them and ensure they remain healthy. Below are a few tips on the best way to achieve this.

Protect your soil – it’s your greatest farm asset!

Reduce inputs, boost yields and prolong the grazing season by caring for your soil.

  • Keep your soil aerated by avoiding poaching and compaction by heavy machinery.
  • Increase soil carbon and the population of earthworms, microbes and mycelia (naturally occurring fungal hyphae that boost soil fertility) by minimising inversion ploughing (e.g. when reseeding) and the use of chemical inputs.
  • Protect your soils from erosion – don’t leave soil uncovered, particularly over winter.
  • Naturally fix nitrogen and improve drainage and drought tolerance by planting species-rich swards
  • Allow sward diversity to develop naturally by reducing grassland management intensity (reduce fertilising/spraying) and avoiding overgrazing (particular in May/June when meadows are flowering).
  • Retain maximum soil carbon by minimising ploughing and reseeds
  • Maximise the grazing season to minimise the need for imported feed – feed and silage production makes up 14% of emissions from the dairy sector and our use of soya based feeds is contributing to rapid destruction of the rainforest in Brazil


10 actions for nature for soils

  1. Maintain a healthy soil biodiversity.
  2. Minimise your use of artificial fertilisers and sprays.
  3. Increase the number of legumes in your pasture and diversify grassland species.
  4. Reduce soil disturbance and causes of compaction such as through the use of heavy machinery.
  5. Consider holistic grazing practices to minimise overgrazing and poaching.
  6. Incorporate trees into your grassland in the form of agroforestry/silvopasture.
  7. Compost farmyard manure before spreading and use it to build up organic matter.
  8. Incorporate crop rotation and diverse cover crops.
  9. Ensure the soil is never bare or exposed.
  10. Use low disturbance crop establishment methods.

Soil Animation

Why Soil Matters – and how to improve it is a short animation on why good healthy soil is important to all of us and how as a livestock or arable farmer you can improve it on your land for the benefit of your land, your community and the planet. This video is relevant to farmers, gardeners, students and anyone with an interest in soil.


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