Soil and water are the most important resources on a farm. Maintaining and retaining soil in good condition is vital for future profitability, while the efficient use of manures can significantly reduce fertiliser costs and protect the environment.
FWAG SouthWest advisers can provide various services to help improve soil and nutrient management; ranging from soil testing and fertiliser recommendations for individual fields, through to Whole Farm Plans for soils and nutrient management.
We can also help with you comply with waste exemptions and NVZ regulations.
SOIL MANAGEMENT PLANS
The risks to soils across a farm can be variable depending on soil texture, slope, rainfall and cropping. Our advisers can help improve soil management, reduce diffuse pollution and soil loss through run off and erosion, and help with localised flooding problems.
The Soil Protection Review will be replaced by new GAEC rules in 2015, these will include minimum soil cover rules and the maintenance of soil organic matter levels. FWAG SouthWest advisers will be able to help you comply with the new rules.
A FWAG SouthWest Soil Management Plan has three main components:
- Field Risk Assessment: This will highlight and map the inherent risks of individual fields across the farm.
- Cropping Risk Analysis: Provides guidance on how to manage farming activities to avoid untimely operations that create compaction and contribute to increased run-off.
- Action Plan: This is a farm specific list of recommendations designed to improve soil structure.
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLANS
A Nutrient Management Plan will match nutrient inputs to crop demand. This ensures that nutrient use and yield are optimised, and losses of nutrients to the environment are minimised. Well planned fertiliser applications will efficiently use the available organic manures and fertilisers which is vital to maximise farm profits.
FWAG SouthWest can provide:
- Soil Sampling and testing to determine the nutrients available in the soil.
- Estimate the supply of nutrients available from any manures applied and if needed, provide a manure management plan.
- Produce a nutrient management plan which matches nutrient inputs (includes fertilisers and manures) to crop requirements.
This will enable farmers to:
- Maximise the value of fertilisers and organic manures, with potential savings on nutrient inputs.
- Improve crop quality and yeilds.
- Reduce the environmental risks caused from nutrient losses.
DIFFUSE POLLUTION AND FLOODING
Regulation is increasingly focused on the need to reduce diffuse pollution of soil nutrients and sediments, minimising these losses has both environmental and economic benefits.
Reducing flood risks is also increasingly important and appropriate management of farmland can help to reduce the risk, severity and impact of flooding.
FWAG SouthWest can provide environmental agronomy expertise:
- Develop Whole Farm Management Plans that reduce sediment loss from farmland. This includes advice on the siting of buffer strips, blind ditches and sediment traps which reduce and capture sediment run-off.
- Nitrate & Phosphate Advice on reducing N/P leaching and improving N use efficiency.
- On Farm Flood Mitigation measures that can slow the flow of water and reduce flooding downstream.