College develops new ‘Soil MOT’…are you due a check-up?

A comprehensive ‘Soil MOT’ – measuring everything from pH levels to earthworm activity – has been created by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Developed by researchers in the Crop and Soil Systems team and delivered by specialists in SAC Consulting, this soil examination has been dubbed the ‘SRUC Soil Health Test’.

The test measures components such as organic matter, physical structure, mineralisable nitrogen and even the number of worms.

Set to be launched at Tillage-Live later this month, the new test has been developed for the specific requirements of Scottish soils.

It combines the biology, physics and chemistry required to maximise efficiency and yields, as well as reduce pollution, erosion, irrigation and tillage costs, according to SRC.

The results are presented in an easy-to-understand “traffic-light” format, giving a simple overview of soil health, together with detailed descriptions and information on each of the factors.

Prof. Bryan Griffiths, chair of Soil Ecology at SRUC, said: “Having healthy soil can make a huge difference to crop yields so an accurate and wide-ranging test can prove invaluable.

“If farmers are looking for a comprehensive assessment of the health of their soil, this test gives specific management advice to maintain and improve soil health based on a biological, physical and chemical analysis.”

In addition to promoting the new Soil Health Test, the SAC consulting stand at Tillage-Live will form part of the event’s Knowledge Trail.

Senior consultants Gavin Elrick and Seamus Donnelly will be in a special pit, where they will look at compaction, soil structure, rooting depth, drainage issues and will also discuss solutions such as tillage and green cover crops.

For more information on SRUC’s new Soil Health Test, email: [email protected].

Organised by the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA), Tillage-Live takes place near Dunbar, East Lothian, on Wednesday, September 26, from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

For more those interested, more information is available on the Tillage-Live website.