Free soil sampling

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The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that farmers in the Colebrook and Strule Sub Catchments are being offered the opportunity to avail of a free soil sampling and analysis initiative.

The Colebrooke & Strule Soil Testing and Training Initiative will be delivered by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) on behalf of DAERA.

Online registration for the scheme opened yesterday and will close at noon on Friday 17 August 2018.

The soil sampling service will provide participating farmers with detailed information on their soils, such as pH level and nutrient requirements for, Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K).

By optimising pH and applying slurry, manure and chemical fertiliser in line with crop need, farmers can maximise crop yields, increase soil fertility and increase farm profitability, while also improving environmental performance.

Participating farmers will also receive an invitation to attend two 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.

There will be two components to the scheme.

q Component 1: will be aimed at farmers within the six sub catchments within the Colebrooke Water Bodies.

q Component 2: will be aimed at farmers within four Sub Catchments of the Strule Water Bodies.

To be eligible for this year’s scheme:

q You must have a DAERA Farm Business ID number.

q You must be a farmer registered in Northern Ireland with fields within one of the 10 sub catchments.

q You must provide the mandatory information required on the registration form.

A maximum of 10,000 fields will be sampled in this initiative on a first-come-first-served basis and so early registration is recommended. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application within eight weeks of receipt of their registration. All data will be held securely by AFBI, and will not be released in any form that would identify an individual farm. By participating in the initiative, farmers will receive detailed information on their soils to help optimise nutrient management (i.e. pH, P, K, Mg) in line with crop requirements.

Successful applicants will receive an invitation from the College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) to attend two locally based training workshops during the Initiative.

Training is a valuable component of the initiative and so it is important that successful applicants attend.

For further information, contact Aisling Cooney at 028 90 255610, or email info@afbini.gov.uk

To apply, or request further details on the scheme, please visit http://www.afbini.gov.uk/colebrook-strule-soil-testing-and-training-initiative