Know what you've got and make it work for you
Making the most of it can seem daunting, especially when there is a wealth of scientific information about it. Honestly, it’s about getting the basics right. Understanding your soil means looking at its mineral, structural and biological health - a problem with any of these factors can cause major issues for you and your farm. Knowing what soil you have and what state it’s in can give you the knowledge to make good decisions for your business.
The GREATsoils team have reviewed the different ways you can assess your soil health. Some are very simple while others involve expensive testing under laboratory conditions. All of them can tell you something about your soil, but you have to make best use of that information to ensure the test was worthwhile. What you choose depends on your situation, inclination and budget. If you haven’t tested your soil for a while, do the basics first. Get a simple soil analysis, then get out and dig some holes – they’re both cheap to do and you can learn so much.
Farming and Land Use Manager, Soil Association Scotland
Lyn joined Soil Association Scotland in 2002 and has been involved in farming throughout her career. She is part of the farming team in Scotland that delivers the Future Farming Scotland programme of practical, informative and topical events. The events are for farmers, growers, crofters and land managers who are looking to explore low-input and sustainable approaches to farming. Lyn also provides support for organic farmers and represents Soil Association Scotland at policy meetings.