UK Policy: Soil health metrics


#1

What did people think of the announcements of the 25 year Env Plan today?

One summary I read noted:
"It is good to see that soil health given such prominence in the plan as this underpins so many of its aspirations. Some key points to emerge are that DEFRA will:

-Invest at least £200,000 to help develop soil health metrics and test them on farms across the country
-Investigate the potential for research and monitoring to give us a clearer picture of how soil health supports our wider environmental goals."

Full report is [here] (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/25-year-environment-plan)

Obviously we see Sectormentor for Soils as a key part of that. And will continue to push the importance of having metrics and monitoring that benefit farmers and enable farmers to make more informed decisions.

What are other’s thoughts on this? How will this impact your farms?


#2

Plenty about soils in this 25 year environment Plan and talk of developing a Soil Health Index (P32) which is what the Sectormentor App is all about.
This plan’s principles all sound as good as you can hope for at this stage. But so often in the past, courageous papers like this have been watered down to deliver very little. Will it be different this time? Gove certainly has the drive to carry it through. Certainly concentrating on the environment has more votes in it than productive farming. And Theresa May should be happy enough keeping Gove in a role where he adds credibility to her government and keeps him from of challenging her.
The Sectormentor App is certainly good for inputting data. I have not yet got to grips with creating really useful output data.


#3

Oh yes, very interesting - just saw that on pg 32: “Improve soil health, and restore and protect peatlands – this will include developing a soil health index and ending the use of peat in horticulture.”

As you say Ian, currently Sectormentor’s strength is in gathering data. We have a series of graphs comparing indicators between fields but this is the part of Sectormentor for Soils we are hoping to develop the most in the next 3-6 months.

Our aim is to work with yourself and other farmers using the app, as well as soils advisors like Niels to improve our analysis and create a form of Soil Health Index! As you pointed out (and was reiterated at the ORFC), it’s important that we make this happen from the grassroots as the government may or may not deliver.