Colebrooke and Strule Soil Testing and Training Initiative

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Is your farm within the designated sub-catchments of the Colebrooke & Strule river systems in Fermanagh and Tyrone? Did you receive a letter from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), inviting you to register for the Soil Testing and Training Initiative?

Check your farm is within the eligible area at http://arcg.is/S4im4.

If yes, then register now for this unique opportunity to avail of free soil sampling and training at https://www.afbini.gov.uk/colebrook-strule-soil-testing-and-training-initiative.

The initiative is delivered by AFBI on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and is supported by the Ulster Farmers Union. All data will be held securely by AFBI, and will not be released in any form that would identify an individual farm.

Successful applicants will receive free:

· Soil sampling;

· Individual soil analysis results that include pH (acidity) and phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) status as well as recommendations for lime, phosphate (P205) and Potash (K20);

· Training workshops to help understand what their soil analysis report means and how to use it effectively to plan lime, manure and chemical fertiliser applications.

Planning lime, manure and chemical fertiliser applications using soil analysis can help you:

· Produce high quality grass and forage crops;

· Improve and maintain soil fertility;

· Save money on chemical fertilisers;

· Improve water quality by reducing the risk of nutrient loss.

Feedback from farmers who participated in a similar scheme delivered by AFBI in 2017/18, which was targeted at a group of sub-catchments in the Upper Bann in the east of the Province was very positive. Some of the comments following the analysis and training were:

“I didn’t realise soil analysis was so important and useful.”

“I need to pay more attention to understanding the fertility of my soil and only put on the amount of slurry and fertiliser that is needed.”

“I was surprised when the soil analysis showed big differences in the fertility of my fields.”

“I was reminded that pH and lime is critical for soil. Putting on lime means that slurry and fertiliser is used much better by the plants.”

A maximum of 10,000 fields will be sampled on a first-come-first-served basis so go online and register now or before noon on 17 August.