The importance of soil health for holistic, regenerative and sustainable farming practices is increasingly well recognised; healthy soils promote good carbon sequestration and biodiversity outcomes, notably bacteria, fungi and nematodes too.
The Agri-Tech Centres – CHAP, Agri-EPI and CIEL – are supporting the complex path to systems which support sustainable use of our soils through targeted research, work with farmers and via our highly specialised facilities, industry-wide networks and expertise.
On World Soil Day, we thought we would share with you a snapshot of some of our soil-based work and capabilities which support these activities.
We have a range of capabilities to maximise soil health research, including the phenotyping and soil health facility at Cranfield University, in which CHAP and Agri-EPI collaborate and which is changing our understanding of what we grow, where and how we use fertilisers and pesticides, how much to water, and when to harvest.
Additionally, CHAP’s molecular diagnostics lab at NIAB; the precision till, sow and spray equipment at Stockbridge Technology Centre and the Lab to Field (Mobile Crop Science Labs) are all designed to ensure farmers will be able to deliver on the needs of the industry.
Soil analysis can provide fundamental information on the status and fertility of a soil, enabling the scheduling of fertiliser, lime and manual applications to maximise production. Recent research from Agri-EPI Centre has highlighted the extent to which farmers are interested in improving their soils and understanding how to maximise its productivity while minimising inputs. This research helped to clarify the extent to which agri-tech development is needed to support farmers in making better decisions on soil health day by day.
The role of livestock and soil in the global carbon cycle was to the fore in CIEL’s Net Zero & Livestock report, “Bridging the Gap”, a guide to informing and accelerating new innovation which will enable progress on the road to net zero. The report highlighted innovative approaches to optimise soil carbon sequestration and remove carbon dioxide, such as multi-species swards, forage crops and the potential for biochar application, as well as the research needed to support the development of some of these technologies.
The Agri-Tech Centres are committed to enabling the transition to healthy soils and sustainable systems throughout our research and innovation development work. If you would like to learn more about our work or to collaborate, please get in touch with us at www.agritechcentres.com.
Speak to Sarah Anderson, Cross Centre Communications Manager for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org