|Our research brings together local farmers through EU, Defra and AHDB funded soil research projects at Loddington|
|More to come in due course - the soilquality.org.uk home page|
In our EU funded project, SoilCare, local farmers have played a key role, through a carefully structured process, prioritising what research we should carry out. As a result, we are now comparing a range of modern deep-rooting agricultural ley grasses, gathering data on forage yield and quality, and on changes in soil properties, including infiltration rates. We are also experimenting with different ways of alleviating soil compaction and gathering data on crop performance and soil biology, as well as on changes to the physical properties of the soil itself. Those farmers who were able to get to Loddington today were able to view these experimental plots and discuss the visible differences in crop performance. Our research on cover crops as part of Defra's Sustainable Intensification research Platform (SIP), also provided an opportunity for local farmers to view and discuss experimental plots at Loddington (see last month's blog post).
While there is considerable interest from the farming community from the perspective of agricultural production and profitability (in an economic climate which makes this objective increasingly challenging), each of these research projects also has considerable relevance to catchment management. Foremost in many of our minds during the recent period of prolonged heavy rain is the potential for reducing flood risk.