James Bretherton's note from recent Soil, Muck & Money event in Elphin

19 November 2013

Elphin, North West Scotland was the venue, and the topic was soil. Soil is important to everybody whether an arable farmer in the middle of Oxfordshire or a livestock farmer in Sutherland, North West Scotland.
So in Elphin Community Hall, we investigated soil health and structure, how we can improve these and the benefits this can have on crop growth and quality. Worms and life in the soil were discussed, and we looked at the importance of soil testing and the effects soil pH can have on soil structure and function. We debated the value of muck on a farm, and how important this material is for feeding the soil as well as the crop.
Next, we braved the elements to visit a local croft, to look at working soil and the livestock which lives on it, amid the stunning scenery of Elphin. There was snow on the mountain tops just to add a bit of extra drama. We dug a pit to inspect the soil structure and to check we had a healthy, living soil. Then before the mist came down we headed back to the hall for more tea & cakes and a roundup of the day.
Many thanks to everyone who helped put on such a great event.

James Bretherton, Agscope Ltd

SRUC: Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure sheet
SRUC Farming for a Better Climate: Alleviating soil compaction

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