New research methods will help us overcome soil deficit: Our letter to the Farmers Guardian

The GWCT Allerton Project has been carrying out research into management of productive soils for many years, from experimental plot to landscape scale.

Our 3,000-hectare Water Friendly Farming experiment suggests that soil is being lost from farmland in the study area at a rate of about half a tonne per hectare per year. Like many of the figures we read or hear about, this is difficult to interpret but is a clear indication that things are not as they should be (Degrading of soils costing £1.2bn each year, FG, December 7). Compaction and runoff are major underlying issues that affect agricultural production, water quality and flood risk. As farmers across the country know all too well, addressing these connected issues is no easy matter, but our experimental plot research is investigating a range of measures to help us achieve this.

Chris Stoate

Head of GWCT’s Allerton Project research

Get the inside track on soil and water research

Priced now at just £4.95 (50% off), The Soil & Water Balance is a handy paperback which provides the inside track on soil and water research.

Presented in a Q&A style, much like our popular Moorland Balance, this 100-page book looks at the problems and solutions on topics ranging from erosion and contamination, to the impact on songbirds and other wildlife.

Combining years of research at the GWCT's Allerton Project demonstration farm with tens of external scientific papers, this is a fascinating study of how farming can adapt to the challenges it currently faces.

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