Science Into Practice - GREATsoils programme

Soil is one of the most important assets a grower has and improving its health is fundamental to the agronomic and financial sustainability of horticultural enterprises.

Growing Resilient, Efficient & Thriving Soils (GREATsoils) is a knowledge-exchange programme funded by AHDB Horticulture. The aim is to inspire and support growers to assess and manage the health of their soils. It covers assessment of soil structure and health as well as what you can do to maintain or improve soil on-farm, including the latest information on precision farming.

The programme involves a series of participatory on-farm events and webinars and it is supported by publications on a range of topics. The entire programme is underpinned by independent cross-sector research funded by AHDB.

The first project (CP107b) focuses on soil health and how it can be measured and managed by growers. There are a number of commonly used indicators, described as either biological, chemical or physical. A broad range of soil health tests are being evaluated in a series of on-farm demonstration trials across a number of different production systems. Guidance is provided to growers on their use and how to interpret results with the aim of helping growers develop management strategies and plans.

In parallel research, in project CP107c, the current and future potential of precision farming technology to improve soil and nutrient management is being evaluated. Innovation offers growers' new opportunities to increase productivity and profitability, and technology with the greatest potential will be demonstrated and evaluated in field experiments on six commercial farms.

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