A group of farmers are working together to improve soil health and the sustainability and profitability of their businesses.
The Soil Regenerative Group – a Farming for a Better Climate project facilitated by SAC Consulting – involves five growers on the east of Scotland.
The group is exploring which management techniques, treatments, crops and rotations best establish resilient farm soils and how to integrate these into a profitable farm business.
Ideas explored include growing linseed, broadcasting seed on the day of harvest, grazing sheep on oilseed rape and direct drilling – all examples of regenerative, or conservation, farming.
Zach Reilly from SAC Consulting, who is leading the project, said it was a great example of peer-to-peer learning.
“The open conversations and diverse activity and experiences of these five farmers is the heart of its success,” said Mr Reilly.
“They are all trying very different and interesting methods and, although across a mix of farming enterprises, there is overlap and the real value is that they are all learning from each other.”
One of the farmers involved is James Hopkinson at Cloud Farming and Arable Ventures near Forfar.
He has been increasing crop diversity by growing linseed and beans to lengthen his rotation, as well as trialling different cover crops and livestock grazing.
He said: “Restoring soil seems absolutely the right thing to do but the challenge is doing that profitably or so, at the least, it doesn’t cost us as farmers to do it.”