Muir announces June opening date for Zone 3 of Soil Nutrient Health Scheme

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DAERA Minister Andrew Muir MLA has announced that registrations for Zone 3 of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme (SNHS) will open in June this year. Zone 3 covers north Tyrone and County Derry/Londonderry.

Speaking during a visit to Balmoral Show Minister Muir said: “I am delighted to announce that registrations for Zone 3 of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme will begin on 24 June and close again on 31 August 2024. I strongly encourage all eligible farm businesses in the north west to register for this groundbreaking scheme.

“At this mid-point in the scheme we have seen a very positive response in Zones 1 and 2, with over 90% of farms registered and over 280,000 fields tested for soil nutrients."

All farmers in the Scheme receive important information on soil nutrient levels for each field as well as maps of hotspots for nutrient run-off during rainfall events and an estimate of the amount of carbon stored in their soils, hedgerows, and trees.

Minister Muir launches the opening of zone 3 of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme with Rachel Cassidy, AFBI's Head of Catchment Sciences, and Andrew Thompson, CAFRE's Soil Health and Water Quality technologist.Minister Muir launches the opening of zone 3 of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme with Rachel Cassidy, AFBI's Head of Catchment Sciences, and Andrew Thompson, CAFRE's Soil Health and Water Quality technologist.
Minister Muir launches the opening of zone 3 of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme with Rachel Cassidy, AFBI's Head of Catchment Sciences, and Andrew Thompson, CAFRE's Soil Health and Water Quality technologist.

Minister Muir added: “There are significant benefits of the Scheme as the results can help increase farm productivity and reduce the impact of agriculture on the water environment.

“Each farmer in the scheme is offered online training through the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE). This provides information on interpreting results and preparing a nutrient management plan. This is a crucial step towards maximising the nutrient potential of our soils and protecting our environment.”

Farmers who are eligible in Zone 3 will be contacted by Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in the coming weeks with details about how to register online. Scheme guidance is now available on the DAERA website at: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/node/55313

CAFRE SNHS training is available at: www.cafre.ac.uk/snhs-training

Participation in the SNHS will be a requirement to receive payments under future farm support schemes. This conditionality requires that you participate in the SNHS and complete the CAFRE SNHS training when it is offered to you.