Moray Soil & Nutrient Network: 2nd meeting – event summary

5 November 2018

Soil biodiversity and using organic manures including distillery by-products

We gathered at Balnellan for the second meeting of the Moray Soil & Nutrient Network Farm. Dr. Paul Hargreaves and Gavin Elrick were the speakers. The main topics were soil biodiversity and making good use of organic Dr Paul Hargreaves discussing soil health at the Moray Soil & Nutrient Networkmanures, including distillery by-products.

Paul & Gavin both gave presentations and copies of their presentation slides are available to download from the links at the bottom of this page.

Paul used examples from the host farm to discuss soil biodiversity and what affects it. Worm counts had been carried out on the farm before the event and a couple of holes were dug on the day to show how it is done.

Gavin went over how to make the best use of organic manures including FYM, Slurry, and distillery by-products. We looked at the nutrients available from the organic manures and how best they can be used to reduce farm input costs. In addition to average figures, the farms own FYM and distillery sludge and slurry mix had been analysed.

The top take-home messages were:-

  • Soil biology is important to the efficiency of the soil to support good yields
  • The more diversity within the soil the healthier the soil
  • Earthworms are a good indicator of the health of the soil – both for nutrients and structure
  • You need to monitor your soils to manage them
  • More organic matter helps increase soil biology
  • Keep soil analysis up to date
  • Have up to date analysis of all organic manures to be used on the farm
  • Balance organic manures with crop requirements
Related Downloads
Benefits of organic manures for crops: Gavin Elrick presentation slides from Moray Soil & Nutrient Network
This is a copy of the presentation slides used by Gavin Elrick during the second meeting of the Moray Soil & Nutrient Network. Gavin's discussions focussed around the topic of the use of organic manures, including the use of distillery by-products.
Soil quality: soil indicators – presentation slides used by Dr Paul Hargreaves during the Moray Soil & Nutrient Network meeting
These are the presentation slides used by Dr Paul Hargreaves during the second meeting of the Moray Soil & Nutrient Network. Paul's discussions focused on the importance of soil quality & biodiversity and ways in which farmers can measure it.
Technical note (TN633): Phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and magnesium recommendations for cereals, oilseed rape and potatoes
Good soil management is required to optimise nutrient use and maximise arable productivity.
Topics: Crops and Soils and Soils
Technical note (TN650): Optimising the application of bulky organic fertilisers
Livestock manures should be viewed as valuable resources rather than as waste products. They can bring significant benefits to soils and crops when used appropriately, and their use can result in considerable savings on purchased fertilisers.
Topics: Crops and Soils and Soils
Technical note (TN651): Nitrogen recommendations for cereals, oilseed rape and potatoes
Nitrogen (N) recommendations for cereals, oilseed rape and potatoes have been updated in the light of recent trials results and advisory experience.
Topics: Crops and Soils and Soils
Technical notes (TN652): Fertiliser recommendations for grassland
The main limitations to grass production are temperature, moisture, soil pH, soil drainage and structure, and nitrogen (N). This technical note shows how to calculate the optimal amount of N that should be applied.
Topics: Crops and Soils and Soils
AHDB: An introduction to earthworms guide
AHDB: An introduction to earthworms guide
Topics: Crops and Soils, Soils, Climate Change, and Water Management
OPAL – Grassland earthworm key
This is a two-sheet guide to identifying earthworms.
Topics: Soils, Environment, and Crofts & Small Farms
Farmer’s guide to sourcing and using digestate and compost
Thinking of using digestate or compost? This guide from Zero Waste Scotland in association with NFUS can help you choose the right product. The guidance gives you key questions to ask to support you through the process of sourcing and using compost and digestate to help make sure the materials will meet your requirements.
Topics: Soils, Climate Change, and Water Management
Dr Paul Hargreaves discussing soil health at the Moray Soil & Nutrient Network

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