After direct drilling for eight years now we have seen a great improvement in the soil conditions, leading to better plant establishment and increased life in the soil, writes Edward Gent.
People are starting to take note that these things are important as plants grow much better, healthier, with less reliance on artificial fertilisers and chemicals in a healthy soil. This also means we need less energy to achieve a seedbed to establish the next crop, leading to cost benefits in machinery, fuel and labour, as well as great benefits to the environment.
There is a vast increase in soil life which, being at the bottom of the food chain, supports many more animals and birds than cultivated fields. This is all very positive and I am sure it is the way forward, but it is a great challenge to get things right. It takes time for the soil conditions to improve, adverse weather conditions make things difficult and unstable markets make outputs unpredictable. With all this in mind we do need a good agricultural policy post Brexit, the support of the government and the public to give a good direction and firm base so we can produce good sustainable food for us all, while protecting and working with the environment.
It is important that we all pull together as a country. We as farmers work hard to produce food for all our plates, but we will not be able to do it alone. We will need some support in one way or another to continue producing food at the high standards we all demand while looking after the environment as well.