European agri-tech company ABACO Group and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) have partnered with ASDA, Tesco and McCain Foods in a bid to support farmers managing their soil health.

The partnership will launch a digital application aimed at supporting farmers and growers to “better manage the health and productivity of their soil and the assessment of soil quality across the UK”.

The soil health scorecard (SHSC), which will now be trialled by ASDA, Tesco and McCain within their supply chains, aims to establishes an “open, accessible and data-driven” solution for collecting soil data and benchmarking soil health.

The application will provide a database to record and analyse soil sample results and will provide advice to farmers on how to improve the quality of their soil, ABACO Group said.

Chief executive of ABACO Group, Antonio Samaritani, said: “ABACO has found ideal partners to foster innovation and sustainability in agriculture and farming.

“At ABACO, we put environmental, social and governance concerns at the forefront of everything we do, and finding partners who are completely aligned with these objectives has made this a natural fit for us.”

ABACO Group said the scorecard will allow supply chain partners to fast-track the technology transition in agriculture and “innovatively address key issues in food production”.

“Through AI analytics, the scorecard is expected to transform the way farmers approach soil health management, and the collaboration among different players is a significant step toward sustainable and innovative farming practices,” it said.

Soil quality

ABACO Group said rising costs and soil degradation has made for an increasingly challenging environment for the agricultural sector.

It said Its partners in the implementation of this digital application – ASDA, Tesco and McCain – have all “chose technology and innovation to improve soil quality, productivity and in turn, sustainability in food production over the long term”.

“The application provides a way to measure the success of specific management practices and offers tailored advice to farmers on how to improve soil health,” ABACO Group said.

“The partnership arrives in a challenging period for the agricultural and farming sectors.”