Farmers and landowners will now be able to value their arable land more precisely thanks to a new tool which can accurately measure the quality of their soil.
In partnership with agronomists Indigro, Fisher German has developed a new ‘soils matrix’ which assesses several factors relating to soil quality and combines them into an easy to understand score. The higher the score, the better the soil. Factors such as soil type, drainage, pH and levels of elements such as potassium and magnesium are all taken into account when calculating the score.
The matrix can also be used to offer clients advice on what can be done to improve the quality of soil, and whether the treatment needed would be cost effective. Robert Knight, Senior Associate at our Market Harborough office, said it was more important than ever for farmers to know as much as they can about their soil. “Post-war UK agriculture is something of a victim of its own success. Producing increasingly cheaper food and lowering the cost of production by striving for yield and specialisation has come at a cost to our soil quality. Two farms giving the same level of input into crop production could have widely different yields due to the difference in soil quality. It is crucial for farmers and landowners to understand the quality of their soil to maximise their profits, and it is also important to know whether investing to improve the soil is cost-effective or not. Our new soils matrix combines several different factors relating to soil quality to create a simple score. We can then accurately assess how much money would be needed to bring up the quality to a desired level.”
If it is found that investing in ways to improve soil is cost effective, our experts can help farmers and landowners create a farm management plan to implement. Once the plan has been implemented, the soil is then reassessed using the matrix and we can see at a glance how well the plan has worked by how much the score has increased.
Robert added: “For example, if a farmer wanted to improve the soils matrix score towards its optimum level, we could show how much money it would take and what techniques could be used to do that. We could then predict the extra money gained in future years from increased yields to understand the benefit from the initial investment. Once the investment has been made, we will continue to monitor how best to improve soil quality over time, and show them how well the treatment has worked with a new matrix score. The soils matrix will take some of the guesswork out of arable farming and give farmers and landowners much-needed clarity over whether to part with their money or not.”