Island Soil Testing Throws Up Surprises

Soil tests carried out earlier this year on farms in Scilly have been described as ‘unexpected’ and ‘fascinating.’

That’s the view of Natural England, who’s Soils for Profit project organised testing on twelve islands’ farms in Spring.

The results have shown that two-thirds of fields had a pH, or acidity level, that could stunt crops, resulting in lower yields.

And almost three-quarters had phosphorous levels that were too high, something they think is due to the cultivation of bulbs and, formerly, potatoes on the islands.

The S4P team say money could be saved by moving away from the standard fertilisers currently applied to bulb fields by some farmers here.

Project advisers Emma Heller spent time on the islands, visiting farmers and providing individual advice on soil management, based on the test results.

Emma said the team were delighted that so many local land managers came along to the event on St Mary’s in April.

She said these kind of results can provide vital evidence that support farmers in making important business decisions. And this has the potential to save farmers money and protect the environment.


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