Devizes local farmers welcomed at soil sustainability workshop

Devizes local farmers this week joined The Crown Estate, which has joined forces with Innovation for Agriculture, to host a series of seminars across the UK for farmers on its estates to explore ways to improve soil quality.

19 June 2015

The degradation of the UK’s soil has increased in recent decades with the organic matter content declining to critical levels in some farms. Soil management practices can help improve the resilience and health of soil for farmers safeguarding both quality and yield.

The interactive workshop called ‘Enrich Your Soils’ was developed by Innovation for Agriculture with the aim of addressing this growing issue in the UK. We funded the events to help engage farmers in debate about this key issue and identify ways for farmers and landowners to work together to improve practices on farms.

The workshops are being held at nine locations across England over the coming months and focus on the plant and animal residue in soils which is essential to soil fertility and a vital component in the long term sustainability and productivity of farms.

Ken Jones, Director of Rural & Coastal, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with our tenants and the Innovation for Agriculture to address soil quality, which is vital to improving food productivity, security and ensuring the long term sustainability of UK farms, including in Devizes.

“As an organisation dedicated to generating returns over the long term, working in partnership with our tenants to promote effective soil management is essential to maximising the productivity and long term sustainability of our rural holdings.”

David Gardner, The Royal Agricultural Society of England, said: “Improving soil organic matter is one of the great challenges facing the current generation of farmers. Maintaining and improving it is vital to protect the long term value of agricultural land”.

We pay our annual profits to the Treasury for the benefit of the public finances, and actively manage one of the largest rural land portfolios in the country. This comprises around 138,000 hectares (340,000 acres) of agricultural land and forestry used commercially for large-scale arable, livestock and dairy farming, mineral extraction and forestry.

It is in this context that we monitor and tests soils across the rural portfolio, working with tenants to research soil indices and explore ways in which they can work together to protect both long-term asset value and productivity.

Aiming to enhance the value of our rural estate through active management, stewardship and community participation we are in the vanguard of property owners trying to develop both our understanding and progressive ways of working together with our tenants on soil issues.