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Angus Soil & Nutrient Network – event summary

26 July 2017

The first meeting of the Angus Soil & Nutrient Network

Gavin Elrick & Paul Hargreaves, soil specialists in a soil pit talking to a group of farmers

This first of three meetings was held at the Finavon Hotel, followed by a farm visit to Bogindollo Farm, courtesy of the Crichton family.

Emma Gordan, consultant at SAC Forfar, opened the meeting by giving a brief background to the farm and a brief look at the recent soil analysis results. Soil specialist Paul Hargreaves then took the floor to discuss the differences between soil texture and soil structure. There were many questions being asked, ranging from cover crops to drainage.

Following lunch the group headed to a field site to inspect two soil pits.  Soil expert Gavin Elrick joined Paul and they discussed the practical side of soil structure and texture, cementing the mornings lessons. In depth discussion was had about avoiding compaction and removing the damage once it has occurred.

Emma then led a discusion on microbial activity and, using stick measurements to highlight their activity, went on to cover the importance of microbes in the soil. Finally the group was asked to guess manure application rates covering 1m squared plots in order to give the growers an accurate picture of the NVZ limits and crop recommendations.

Key messages from the meeting

  • Inspect and record the soil structure to monitor changes – using both the ‘assessing soil texture‘ and VESS charts
  • Avoid damaging the soil by only cultivating at correct soil moisture levels.
  • Apply manures accurately to use nutrients and reduce costs.

Information associated with this meeting is available to download below & you can view the presentation slides from the day here.  For more information on the Angus Soil & Nutrient Network please contact

Photo of soil structure in a soil pit  Visual representation of the density of FYM application at different rates per hectare


Related Downloads
Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) Score Chart
This is a downloadable copy of the Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) score chart for use in-field.
Topics: Soils
Assessing Soil Texture
Topics: Soils
Valuing Your Soils – Practical Guidance for Scottish Farmers
This brochure includes useful information about Scotland's agricultural soils and practical advice outlining the upfront financial savings and business benefits of better soil management and the efficient use of resources. Action and problem-specific 'field-sheets' are designed for busy farmers with limited time for reading.
Topics: Climate Change, Soils, Water Management and Crops and Soils
Technical Note (TN656): Soil Information, Texture & Liming Recommendations
• Web based access to information on your soils on your farm is described. • Soil texture classes of mineral soils are described and identified by hand texturing. • Liming recommendations for different soils and managements are tabulated.
Topics: Soils
Group of farmers around a soil pit

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