CAFREE Soil Management Event:

200 farmers attended a very impressive demo and information day at Enniskillen. The genesis of the event was to reduce soil compaction, improve soil structure and drive farm profitability. Plants need air spaces in the soil to properly root and take up nutrients to promote growth. Anything that has a negative impact on soil structure has a negative impact on farm profits. It has been estimated that 80% of UK soils are compacted. This results in 30% less growth and 40% lower efficiency to Nitrogen application.

In relation to equipment driving on land, the speakers on the day said it was paramount to choose the correct wheels and drive on ground at the appropriate tyre air pressure. Axle weights also have a bearing.

Compaction can cost up to £220/ha/year.

Aeration methods were also discussed from spikers, soil lifters, mole ploughs, sub-soilers and ploughs. Each having their place depending on the fields requirements.

Also outlined was the need for nutrient management plans and how lime is a real driving force to maximise applied N, P, K.

In summary it is “all about balance”.