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Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network: 1st meeting event summary

19 July 2018

The first meeting of the Stranraer Nutrient Network was held on Thursday 19th July at Leswalt.

The morning session was held in Leswalt Village Hall where the topics of soil sampling, liming, phosSoil map of Stranraer area with sample of soil beside itphate and an introduction to soil structure were discussed.  Farmers were able to view local soil maps to see soil types on their farm and samples of various lime samples were passed round for discussion.  Scotland’s Environment is a web page where you can view soils maps of Scotland for free.  A simple search will show what soil type your farm might have.

An introduction to nutrient budgeting was made discussing phosphate applications and highlighting the importance of soil sampling.

The afternoon session was held at Balwherrie Farm.  This was a practical session looking at soil structure and there were working demonstrations from two sward lifter machines and an aerator and discussion made around each machine and the effects they had on soil.  However,

An aerator attached to the back of a John Deere tractor

the importance of digging a hole to examine soil structure before you decide upon using a piece of machinery was stressed.  You need to know if there is a problem and why before you can decide how to alleviate it and different machines will address different problems.  Using the wrong one may even cause more problems.

You can read more about how to assess soils structure using a VESS (Visual Examination of Soil Structure) from the Valuing Your Soils booklet.  There are VESS charts at the end of the booklet and explain the process in detail.

Read the presentation slides used during this meeting here.  More photos from the event are available on our Facebook page.


Key points from the event

  1. Soil sample – this will enable the best use of organic nutrients and may well save your money!
  2. Dig a hole to assess your soil type and structure.

Use the links below to download leaflets available to take home from this event and other related information.

Related Downloads
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
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
1st Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network meeting presentation slides
These are the presentation slides used during the first meeting of the Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network group, held during July 2018 in Leswalt
Topics: Soils
Practical Guide: Soil sampling I – How to take a soil sample
This practical guide details what is required to take a soil sample for analysis that is representative of the area sampled.
Topics: Soils, Climate Change and Water Management
Practical Guide: Soil sampling II – Benefits to your business
This practical guide details how soil sampling can benefit businesses by increasing productivity and create efficiencies on fertiliser inputs through better nutrient planning.
Topics: Soils, Climate Change and Water Management
Practical Guide: Nutrient budgeting I – The benefits to your business
This practical guide looks at the benefits of creating and using a nutrient budget for your farm business.
Topics: Climate Change
Practical Guide: Nutrient Budgeting II – Getting started
This practical guide looks at what factors you need to consider when making a nutrient budget for your farm, fertiliser recommendations and how to get the most out of your nutrient budget.
Topics: Climate Change
Info on Lime, Phosphate etc
Topics: Soils
Practical Guide: Managing Soil Phosphorus
This Practical Guide will help you manage the phosphorus in your soils. It will help you understand the risk of phosphorus pollution and how you can reduce bagged fertiliser costs in grassland by incorporating nitrogen fixing clover into your sward.
Topics: Soils, Climate Change and Water Management
Technical note (TN668): Managing soil phosphorus
Efficient soil P management is challenging due to the varying ability of soils to mediate and regulate plant available forms of P. Farmers and land managers in Scotland are now able to access farm level information about their soils making it possible to provide more accurate P management advice.
Topics: Crops and Soils
Farming For A Better Climate: Practical Guide – Alleviating Soil Compaction
This Practical Guide gives some ideas on how to alleviate soil compaction.
Topics: Soils
Farming For A Better Climate: Practical Guide – Improving Soil Quality
This Practical Guide concentrates on how we can improve soil quality to help us to adapt to climate change.
Topics: Soils
Farming For A Better Climate: Practical Guide – Soil Management
Topics: Soils
Healthy Grassland Soils – guide to soil assessment
This is publication from Newcastle University, ADAS, SRUC & AHDB can be used to help you assess the health of your grassland soils
Topics: Soils, Climate Change, Water Management and Crops and Soils
Interpretation of Soil Analysis Results
QMS Better Soil Grassland Management for Scottish Beef & Lamb Producers
QMS Better Soil Grassland Management for Scottish Beef & Lamb Producers booklet
Topics: Crofts & Small Farms, Climate Change, New Entrants, Livestock and Rural Business
Practical Guide: Tyre selection & management
This practical guide explains how to reduce soil damage, improve fuel usage and reduce overall green house gas emissions by selecting the correct tyre size, type and pressure.
Topics: Climate Change
Farming For A Better Climate: Practical Guide – Field Drainage
Topics: Soils and Water Management
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
A photo of someone measuring the length of blade on a soil aerator with a yellow measuring tape

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