As the ARCZero project, a farmer-led European Innovation Project co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), has already demonstrated at their series of farm walks this summer, having the correct information goes a long way to ensure the correct, efficient management of land. This is why the project is today encouraging all those farmers in zone one who haven’t signed up for the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme (SNHS) to do so before it closes at the end of August.
The Soil Nutrient Health Scheme is a free service that will provide participating farmers with detailed information on the nutrient status of their soils, runoff risk maps for nutrient loss to waterbodies for each field sampled, estimates of carbon stored in their soils as well as above-ground biomass for each farm and training on the interpretation of soil nutrient reports and the generation of soil nutrient plans.
As part of the ARCZero project, participating farmers had similar tests done in 2021. The two of the Project’s members who are in Zone one, Dairy Farmer Ian McClelland and Arable Farmer Simon Best have already signed up for the SNHS. Ian explained
“We’ve soil sampled on the farm for many years now, but having it put together in easy-to-understand soil maps alongside run-off risk maps was a real game changer. Having an at a glance reference to each field lets me easily know which field needs what without having to look through a lot of data”
Simon was in agreement, adding that
“Having this suite of data has many benefits for farm management – knowing exactly what’s needed and where. I was also amazed to learn how much carbon is being stored in our soils and hedges, truly showing farmers as the true custodians of the countryside.”
Farmers can register for the SNHS via DAERA online services in a similar way to entering their single application form, or they can authorise their agent to apply on their behalf. Alternatively, they can book an appointment in their local DAERA office where trained Customer Service Branch staff will complete the application for them.