New ‘soils matrix’ tool helps farmers improve soil

The tool can be used to advise farmers on what can be done to improve the soil’s quality
The tool can be used to advise farmers on what can be done to improve the soil’s quality

Farmers looking to improve the quality of their soil as a result of the new Agriculture Bill will benefit from a bespoke tool which helps analyse soil quality.

The bill, which has now been introduced to parliament, promises to incentivise farmers to do more protect the soil, recognising the need to regenerate it for future generations.

A new ‘soils matrix’ has now been developed by property consultancy Fisher German and agronomists Indigro to make it far easier for farmers to assess their soil’s health.

The matrix assesses several factors relating to soil quality and combines them into a simple score. The higher the score, the better the soil.

Factors which affect soil quality, such as soil type, drainage, pH and levels of elements like magnesium and potassium are all considered when calculating the score.

The matrix can be used to advise farmers on what can be done to improve the soil’s quality, and whether the treatment needed would be cost-effective.

Robert Knight, of Fisher German, said he was pleased the government had recognised the importance of soil quality in the Agriculture Bill.

He said: “Farmers and landowners now have more reasons than ever to improve their soil quality – not only to improve their productivity and help the environment, but to implement good practice to maximise opportunity to receive future grants from the government too.

“We have already been helping farmers improve their soil through the use of our soils matrix before the bill was introduced to parliament.”

The matrix combines several different factors relating to soil quality to create a simple score - and can accurately assess how much money would be needed to improve quality.

Mr Knight said: “While we do not yet know the exact details of how farmers will be rewarded for improving soil quality and what farming practices will be required, we are confident that, once more details emerge, we are best-placed to advise farmers on how to earn them.

“Although many farmers will now look to create better soil thanks to the incentives arising from the Agriculture Bill, we can help them do this in the most cost-effective way.

“It’s a win-win situation – good soil quality will not only help the environment and earn farmers grants, but will also boost their productivity and yields anyway.”