WEEKEND WEB: Farmers’ SOS - Save Our Soil!

Tony Gent
Tony Gent
Have your say

Farmer TONY GENT writes this week’s WORD ON THE GROUND column...

After promising winter weather with below average rain, as we feared, it’s now all changed and looks like spring will be late.

When the weather improves this will cause a bottleneck of work with spraying, fertiliser spreading and sowing spring crops all happening at once.

The farming industry is becoming increasingly concerned about how support is going to evolve after we leave the E.U. and the farming press is covering every snippet in ministers and Defra speeches for hints.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the minister is very keen to see any future support be channelled towards environmental issues and one aspect of this he is very concerned about is soil degradation.

As a farmer on heavy soil, it became apparent that the heaviest of our fields were becoming much more difficult to work and quickly ranged in extreme moisture content, having difficulty using nutrient, became weed infested and generally produce low yields.

In other types of soil and hill areas, soil degradation is apparent, with loss from erosion or blowing. Also soil in very poor condition contains very little worm and other microbe numbers and cannot function in the way it evolved over millions of years.

Those of us that have adopted No-Till have, in just a few years, seen our soils change dramatically, becoming much more stable and easier to manage, worm and microbes recovering and producing crops with less inputs more economically.

As a member of UK Conservation Agriculture, we applaud governments for their awareness of this problem and putting policies in place to reverse soil degradation around the world.