Wednesday, 12 August 2020
James Holmes, resource management senior scientist, explains how extreme weather can quickly affect soil conditions and crops. During periods of drought or prolonged rainfall famers and growers often ask AHDB how they should be managing their soils.
Unfortunately there are no quick fixes and any changes to the way you mange soils, your most valuable asset, should be fully considered and planned. However, extreme weather does offer the opportunity to identify key challenges and areas of concern. Once the weather improves and you have the time it is important to reflect on what happened and plan for the future.
In the moment extreme weather can be very stressful but prolonged periods of rain or even flooding can help you identify areas of the farm that would benefit from, for example, drainage. If you see water pooling in fields make a note of this. On the other hand, a drought may help you identify areas of the farm or fields that dry out more quickly than others. Make a note of these observations to help you when you come to creating a soil management plan.
AHDB provides a soil management plan for outdoor pig producers but it is useful for all types of farmers and growers. The plan will enable you to draw together all of the relevant information on your soil and the challenges you face – this makes it easier to focus on the opportunities available to you.
Of course you may already have a soil management plan and extreme weather may have posed new challenges for you. To support you in creating or revising your soil management plan AHDB also provides a wealth of information on soil assessment, soil organic matter, drainage, reseeding grassland and crop establishment. For further information see www.ahdb.org.uk/greatsoils or contact one of the team.
Reaping the rewards – weather or not
Listen to John Bates who speaks to Dr Toby Willison, Executive Director of Operations at the Environment Agency and Dr Nicola Dunn Resource Management Scientist at AHDB about the impact of flooding and how farmers can use this to their benefit. We are aware the issues extreme weather can cause to farmland, the specialists discuss the support for farmers including an ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) along with other resources to help businesses as well as the community.