Soil health

One quarter of all species on Earth live in soils, providing the basis for all food production for the other three-quarters. Like all habitats, soils must provide the full range of conditions necessary for these species to survive and thrive. 

Whether you farm on chalk, loam or clay, you’ll know just how much your business depends on your soil to provide the nutrients your crops and livestock need.

Below you'll find resources and case studies from farmers who are reaping the benefits of investing in their soils.

Saving our soils

Healthy soils for climate, nature and health

 "The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible"

Lady Eve Balfour, founder, Soil Association

Why soil matters

Understanding how to manage your farm's soil is key to maintaining its health and productivity.

Four free ways to get started with soil testing

Becky Willson, technical director of Farm Carbon Toolkit, advises you to get your spade out and get digging!

Soil testing: who are you doing it for?

Are you testing for SFI, the carbon market or your own interest?

Technical director of Farm Carbon Toolkit Becky Willson gives us guidance on testing soil organic matter and soil organic carbon, and why knowing who you’re testing for is key.

Soil testing

Soil testing can be daunting but it’s really all about getting the basics right. If you haven’t tested your soil for a while, have a look at the different soil analysis techniques, then get out and dig some holes.

We have also provided contact details for some soil sampling companies.

System design and rotations

Every farm offers different opportunities to improve soil quality. Small tweaks can have big impacts, with almost every business decision having an impact on your soil.

There are multiple benefits to extending your rotation, from weed control to balancing nutritional supply and disrupting disease through enhancing diversity. Understanding each component of the rotation is important if you want to increase your levels of soil organic matter whilst also making the sums stack up.

Soil management

Getting your system and rotation right will prevent a lot of soil issues arising but you can get more from your land if you anticipate problems like erosion and poaching, and implement changes to prevent damage.

Enriching with organic amendments

Organic amendments make a great companion to your growth of soil organic matter. To increase fertility there are many amendments you could consider farmyard manure, compost and woodchip, for example.

Certified organic inputs

Getting your system, your rotation and cultivation right is the best way to improve the quality of your soils – but sometimes you might also want to give them a further nudge in the right direction.