Magic muck at Jedburgh

SOIL management and how to make best use of farmyard manure, slurry and compost will be the subject of a practical free advisory day at Jedburgh on Tuesday (February 26).

Four experts in soil assessment, nutrients, management and rules and regulations will address producers in the morning and there will be practical demonstrations in the afternoon at Bairnkine Farm.

The Soil Association’s agricultural development manager, Lyn Matheson, said: “It’s going to be very practical.

“Soil is very important. It’s looking at your soil, what it needs, what care and attention it needs at this time of year, and looking the inputs you’ve got on your farm (or somewhere close by for compost) and what benefits they could bring and seeing them as valued products.”

AgScope’s James Bretherton, a consultant specialising in assessing soil, will talk about soil.

“He’s very practical and will dig a hole and get people smelling the soil, looking at it and talking about how they can improve it,” said Ms Matheson.

SRUC’s Gavin Elrick is a specialist in PLANET (Planning Land Applications of Nutrients for Efficiency and the environmenT) which gives producers recommendations for arable, horticultural or grassland crops in each field, each year, taking account of the crop nutrient requirement as well as the nutrients supplied from the soil, and applications of organic manures and manufactured fertilisers. And Mr Elrick will provide pointers for nutrient budgeting.

Earthcare Technical’s crop and environmental scientist Audrey Litterick will be putting a monetary value on manure, slurry and compost and saying which is the best product to use in varying cases while SEPA’s Will Dryburgh will advise on the rules and regulations concerning the various fertilisers.

The event is part of the Soil Association’s Future Proofing Scotland’s Farming programme and is being staged with support from SRDP’s Skills Development Scheme and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

For more information and to book contact Ms Matheson on 0131 666 0847 or email lmatheson@soilassociation.org.