Science Into Practice - Soils research programme

Soils are a high priority for AHDB Horticulture. The majority of soil research funded to date has centred on soil-borne disease control. However, given the importance of soils to the long-term sustainability of most horticultural crops, a comprehensive soils research programme was recently commissioned.

An initial project (CP 107) was funded to identify gaps in knowledge about soil management or processes where the industry could improve its management. The project included a review of soils work and thorough industry consultation. The findings helped to inform an AHDB Horticulture call for funding of new soils research in 2014 that led to the commissioning of three major projects:

CP 107b A knowledge-transfer project to guide growers assessing and improving soils. Information will be disseminated through case studies, guidance documents, interactive workshops and events, films, "webinars", "train the trainer" events and an online knowledge exchange hub.

CP 107c To evaluate current and future potential of precision farming technology to optimise soil and nutrient management across annual, biennial and perennial crops. A grower guide — Improved Soil & Nut-rient Management In Horticulture — will be made available.

CP 107d A soil health management information system project that will use historical grower soils data and that collected in the project to dev-elop models for an electronic guide to help growers understand how current practices affect their soils. A series of events and workshops will be organised to instruct growers and agronomists in use of the e-guide.

The full project report can be read online at horticulture.ahdb.org.uk.


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