Skip to content

Inverness-shire Soil and Nutrient Network Meeting – event summary

10 March 2017

First Soil & Nutrient Network meeting on the Black Isle

At the first of three Soil and Nutrient Network meetings on the Black Isle,  21 local farmers participated in lively a meeting with SAC consultant Gillian McKnight, SRUC Soil researcher Joanna Cloy and SEPA catchment coordinator Peter Wright.  The meeting began with presentatGroup of farmers arriving for a farm walkions given indoors at ‘The Plough Inn’ before a farm visit to Flowerburn Mains.  You can view the slides from these presentations here.

  • Gillian McKnight discussed the value of both soil biodiversity and organic matter & how crop rotations, grassland and cover crops can improve these.
  • Peter Wright explained the Priority Catchment areas and how Catchment Co-ordinators work with farmers to address diffuse pollution issues.  More information on managing diffuse pollution can be found on the Farming & Water Scotland website.
  • Joanna Cloy introduced the new Valuing Your Soils booklet and the Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) practical guide.  Later in the afternoon, the process of a VESS was demonstrated in the field.  The soils structures of both grassland and stubble fields were compared.

The farmer audience discussed the soil analyses from the host farmer, Graham MacIver of Flowerburn Mains. There was active discussion on the pros and cons of GPS soil mapping, how to increase carbon in intensively managed arable soil, and what cover crops are suitable in the north of Scotland

This was the first of three meetings over the next 18 months that will look at the basics of soil and nutrient management as well as innovative ways of assessing the efficiency of your farm.

Digging a soil pit to conduct a VESS   Discussing soil structure in a field


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
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
Technical Note (TN665) – Alternative watering for field grazed livestock I – Abstraction systems
Topics: Water Management
Technical Note (TN666) – Alternative Watering for Field Grazed Livestock II – Pumping Systems
Topics: Water Management
Discussing soil structure in a field

Sign up to the FAS newsletter

Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service