Soil Nutrient Health Scheme ‘marks major milestone for agriculture industry’

The official opening of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme marks a “major milestone for the agriculture industry”, the Ulster Farmers’ Union has said.
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The scheme, launched by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots yesterday, will represent an investment of up to £45million over four years, to improve the sustainability of Northern Ireland’s farming sector.

UFU president, Victor Chestnutt, commented: “We’re delighted that the Agriculture Minster has officially launched the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme.

“We’re the first region to establish an extensive baseline of all farms on soil nutrients, below and above ground carbon stocks.


“If we measure, we can manage, and this scheme will help us to improve water quality and make more progress towards climate change targets adopting a science led, evidence-based approach.”

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) will deliver the scheme, which will see NI setting a high global standard.

“This soil testing and LiDAR scheme has the potential to revolutionise the way we manage our land and soils as a region, helping us understand more precisely what is happening on our farms,” the president added.

“The data retrieved from the scheme will provide farmers with vital information on soil nutrient levels for each field on their farm as well as an estimate of the amount of carbon stored in their soils, hedgerows, and trees.

“Farmers will also receive specific training to assist them with using the nutrient and carbon data on their farms.

“I encourage all our members to take advantage of this new scheme which will have massive benefits for their farm business as well as delivering for the environment,” Mr Chestnutt concluded.

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