Essential Soils

Whatever branch of agriculture farmers are involved in “good soil management” is crucial not only to their profitability and  ability to increase production  but to their contribution towards increased biosecurity; improved water quality, and the reduction of carbon emissions.

Back in 2018 it was stated in the 25 year Environment Plan that 40% of England’s agricultural soil would be sustainably managed by 2028 and this would increase to 60% by 2030.

Farmers were promised a Soil Health Action Plan for England (SHAPE) by 2021 and 2 years later still no action plan, just a watered down commitment in the Environment Improvement Plan (EIP23) to improve and protect soil health through the lowest tier of the new farming scheme.

If we are fully committed to supporting sustainable food production we urgently need to implement an action plan that would not only help to protect soil erosion, but would increase organic matter, improve nutrient use, help biodiversity and increase homegrown food production.     

There has been plenty written about protecting our peatland and increasing our tree planting and our hedges and all have action plans, but soil, which occupies around 70% of our surface, is still waiting for one.

Written by Iain Turner