Farmers Attend Soil Advice Session

Scilly farmers will have their soil tested for pH and nutrients five times as part of a Natural England scheme to improve long-term sustainability of local land.

15 people went to a ‘Soils for Profit’ breakfast briefing at the Mermaid last week.

Organiser Emma Heller says attendees voiced concerns about the level of nutrients in local soil, which has been traditionally used for flower-based single-crop monoculture.

The sessions showed land could become more profitable by using GPS to measure rows of bulbs so farmers can fit more in. Planting across a slope and not downwards and moving gateways to the top of fields can stop pathways forcing soil down a slope, which prevent erosion.

11 of the attendees who went to last week’s event will receive more advice after the soil test results.

Emma says her team will meet with islanders farming on St Mary’s, St Agnes and St Martin’s again in mid-June on a one-to-one basis so specific advice can be offered

Keith Hale of Tremelethen Farm said it was a useful meeting. Some things was aimed at larger units than we have here but he said it was still interesting to see what techniques are being used on mainland farms.

Farmers who want to attend the next session can contact Emma through Radio Scilly.