UK: GREATsoils workshops end year with trial demonstrations

The GREATsoils programme is running six field trials this year which aim to compare different soil assessment methods in horticultural systems during the 2016 and 2017 growing seasons.

Following consultations in 2015, six growers from across the UK are taking part in the trial demonstrations, where they are field testing and comparing a number of suitable soil assessment methods for their specific horticultural systems. A clear priority for UK growers was to focus on soil organic matter improvement and how to increase soil life.



The next two trial demonstrations will be at:
  • Iain Tolhurst at Tolhurst Organic C.I.C. in Whitchurch-on-Thames RG8 7RA (Monday 21 November, 9:45 – 14:00)
  • Steve Nickells, Valefresco in Hampton Lucy, Stratford Upon Avon CV35 8BQ (Friday 2 December, 13:45 – 16:30)
Both growers are comparing similar soil assessment methods in their two different systems, with Iain Tolhurst assessing diverse organic rotation with potato and brassica, with early and late sown green manure stripes.

Steve Nickells is evaluating intensive conventional protected spinach and rocket rotations, introducing short-term green manure mixtures on beds to increase soil organic matter and crop health.

Both events include a field walk, where the host grower will talk through their own approach to managing soils. Both are assessing their soils through the NRM soil health test, visual soil assessment and earthworm counts in early and late sown green manures.



Bookings are now open for the two demonstrations, as well as a workshop in Staffordshire, all of which are funded by AHDB Horticulture as part of its GREATsoils programme.

Although free to all farmers and advisors, places are limited and commercial horticulture growers will be given preference in the event of high demand. Further dates in the New Year will be available soon.

Book your place via email: anja.v@organicresearchcentre.com

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