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

16 November 2018

Using home-grown resources

This was the second meeting of the Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network.  The evening opened with a quick recap about Balwherrie – the host farm for this area and what was discussed during the first meeting held in July this year.  The farm has been soil sampled, and the result maps were distributed amongst the group.  There was a good discussion about the importance of soil sampling and the use of lime.

DR Paul Hargreaves, SRUC, was the guest speaker for the evening.  He gave a detailed presentation emphasing ‘Soil Quality’, starting with an explanation about soil structure, soil layers and the importance of incorporating organic matter to benefit the living organisms within the soil.  Paul used a visual identification chart to demonstrate the variety of worms, where they live within the soil profile and their importance for good soil structure.  Using results from research trials, Paul demonstrated the negative impact that soil compaction and disturbance can have on worm populations.  Current research at the Crichton Royal Farm is looking at controlled traffic farming in grassland – and is currently showing an increase of almost 1 tonne DM/ha as a result of the management change.

Lorna Galloway, SAC, then led an informative session on the role of trace elements within the soil, and the relationship between soil, plants, and animals.  The key focus was on Potassium and it’s importance to cell structure, regulating water content, immunity, and tolerance to stress.  The main message was that every nutrient plays a role within plant and animals and a shortage of one nutrient cannot be compensated for by another.

SAC’s Seamus Donnelly brought the evening to a close with a discussion about nutrient plans, their benefits, the information you need – including how to factor in the nutrient value of your slurry, and how to prepare a nutrient budget.

Take Home Messages

  1. Your soil is ALIVE, don’t squash it, drown it or starve it of Oxygen and food.
  2. Buying Lime is the best money you will spend.
  3. Sampling soil, forage, and animals will help you make informed decisions and farm smarter.

     

     

Presentation slides used by all speakers and information related to the discussions at this event are available to download at the bottom of this page.


Use this link to read more about Scotland’s Soil & Nutrient Network and what has been discussed in any of the other 11 host farms across Scotland.

 

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: Crops and Soils, Soils, Climate Change, and Water Management
Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network: 2nd Meeting presentation slides (10 MB Pdf)
These are the presentation slides used during the second meeting of the Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network.
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 (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 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
TN699: Agricultural use of biosolids composts anaerobic digestates and other industrial organic fertilisers
When used appropriately, the recycling to land of organic materials adds nutrient value to soil and crops, and in some cases provide significant savings on the cost of manufactured fertilisers. Regular applications of bulky organic materials can improve water-holding capacity, drought resistance and structural stability
Topics: Soils, Climate Change, and Water Management
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
Using home-grown resources This was the second meeting of the Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network.  The evening opened with a quick recap about Balwherrie – the host farm for this…
Topics: 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
Interpretation of Soil Analysis Results
Using home-grown resources This was the second meeting of the Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network.  The evening opened with a quick recap about Balwherrie – the host farm for this…
OPAL – Grassland earthworm key
This is a two-sheet guide to identifying earthworms.
Topics: Soils, Environment, and Crofts & Small Farms
Stranraer Soil & Nutrient Network - second meeting - a group of farmers sitting around a table listening to a presentation from Dr Paul Hargreaves

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