Restructure your soils this spring
by Hutchinsons/Sustainable Soil Management
After excessive rainfall in the later part of 2019, followed by the fifth wettest February on record, UK growers’ soils have taken a hit.
The huge amount of rainfall is responsible for de-structuring many soils across the country making them increasingly difficult to manage. This, coupled with growers being forced into a position where they have had to travel in unfavourable conditions to either harvest or sow crops, has meant that many soils are in need of attention this spring.
Ian Robertson, general manager at Sustainable Soil Management advises, ‘Appropriate soil management this spring is key. There is no silver bullet with regards to soils, especially this year. Each field should be considered individually and the appropriate measures taken to revitalise the soil.’
‘Where growers are looking to drill spring crops, shallow gentle cultivations should be used as soil structural issues which have been caused by excess water are very rarely deep within the soils profile. That being said, where there are issues deeper in the soil profile, a deep rooting cover crop may be most effective; however, wait until soils are in a fit condition to be drilled.’
‘In some instances, growers should be encouraged to have a longer term, rotational view where possible. Such as drilling a cover crop this spring to restructure the soil with the view to have a good entry into a first Winter Wheat in the autumn.
‘The most important consideration this spring is that growers will need to assess soil structure on a field by field basis to make informed soil management decisions, soils will always improve with a crop growing in them.’