HUTCHINSONS~FieldWise(October2018) (1) - Page 8



Fieldwise
Answers
How do I know if my soil is
in good shape to help prevent
possible water pollution?
Jess Farrant
Jess Farrant gives her view...
Average Soil Moisture Def icit (Scotland & England):
Crop Year 2017/2018
Adequate soil moisture to give a representative
overview of the chemical, biological and
physical state of your soil.
120
100
It is essential that there is sufficient soil moisture
in order to conduct a meaningful assessment.
We will always check this before completing
a Healthy Soils Assessment.
80
60
40
18
gu
st -
18
Au
Jul
y-
18
eJun
8
18
yMa
-1
ril
Ap
rch
-1
8
8
One example is an assessment
conducted by Healthy Soils Specialist
Conor Campbell, at a farm near Alnwick
- the physical assessment found
compaction at 30cm, it was observed
that this layer prevented infiltration further
through the soil profile. When rainfall
occurs, the soil above this layer will reach
saturation and run-off will be increased.
The graphic above shows average
soil moisture deficits throughout the
current cropping year – taking soil
samples during the summer, when the
moisture deficit is generally high, will
not permit a meaningful assessment
of soil structure or earthworm
populations. The best time to assess
the health of your soil is during the
wetter autumn and winter months.
The motivations for a grower to
manage soil health to reduce pollution
are threefold, compaction will increase
run-off and decrease rooting ability of
crops, increased run-off may result in
pesticide residues being found in water
and will also decrease the efficacy of
residual herbicides meaning a grower
will get less benefit and value for
money from the products used.
Ma
rua
ry
-1
8
-1
Feb
ry
ua
Jan
tob
7
-1
er
mb
pte
Oc
0
er
-1
7
No
ve
mb
er
-1
7
De
cem
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r17
20
Se
Soil Health is key to Pesticide
Stewardship - within our industry
there are an increasing number of
schemes and initiatives which aim
to promote the sustainable use
of some of the active ingredients
we have become reliant on.
‘Think Water’, ‘Metazachlor
matters’, and ‘Get Pelletwise’
are pesticide stewardship initiatives
which aim to limit contamination
of drinking water with actives such
as metazachlor, propyzamide,
carbetamide and metaldehyde. They
urge growers to stringently manage
pesticide applications and adhere to
restrictions and measures such as
buffer zones and application timings.
As well as these initiatives,
management of your soils is
imperative in reducing water
pollution. The ‘Think Water’ campaign
urges growers to manage the use of
tramlines, gateways and pathways
to reduce compaction. Compaction
produces a layer of soil within the profile
which does not allow the percolation of
water. As a result, the infiltration of water
into the soil takes longer and the volume
of surface run-off is increased. This
run-off can carry pesticides overland
and into water sources, not only causing
pollution, but also reducing the efficacy
of residual chemistry.
The physical aspect of a ‘Healthy Soils’
assessment will identify any structural
issues within the soil. Growers
should not only consider tramlines
and other areas of heavy traffic as
areas where compaction may be a
concern, as a number of the Healthy
Soils assessments conducted in the
2017-2018 season found levels of
compaction in field which resulted in a
poor infiltration rate.
COMMERCIAL SUPPORT AGRONOMIST
For more information on a ‘Healthy
Soils’ assessment, visit https://
healthysoils.co.uk or email
healthysoils@hlhltd.co.uk
If you have a question or
challenge about crop production
issues you are facing on your
own farm, please email us:
information@hlhltd.co.uk and put
‘Fieldwise Answers’ in the title.
For more information on any of our products
or services please contact your local
Hutchinsons agronomist or contact us at:
H L Hutchinson Limited • Weasenham Lane
Wisbech • Cambridgeshire PE13 2RN
Tel: 01945 461177
Fax: 01945 474837
Email: information@hlhltd.co.uk
@Hutchinsons_Ag
HLHutchinsons
www.hlhltd.co.uk

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