AFBI launches free soil sampling and analysis service

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has launched a free soil sampling and analysis scheme, which is available to livestock farmers in Northern Ireland.

Registrations for the service must be submitted before 19 June 2017 for soil samples to be taken between November 2017 and February 2018.

The free soil analysis service funded under Northern Ireland’s share of the EU Exceptional Adjustment Aid will require applications to be submitted this summer for soil samples to be taken between November 2017 and February 2018.

Registration for the service will be online and will open for applications on Wednesday 31 May and close on Monday 19 June at midday.

By participating, farmers will receive detailed information on their soils to help optimise nutrient management in line with crop requirements. Using this information will enable producers to target the application of slurry, manure and chemical fertiliser more accurately.

In turn, this will help to maximise crop yields, improve soil fertility, and increase farm profitability, while also reducing the potential for negative impacts on water quality.

The project will be two fold. The first is the ‘Open Scheme’, to which all livestock farmers across the North of Ireland are eligible to apply. The second component, the ‘Catchment Scheme’, will be targeted at farmers within specific geographical areas of the Upper Bann river catchment.

A maximum of 20,000 fields will be sampled across the North, with the work scheduled to take place between November 2017 and February 2018, primarily during the closed period for manure application.

Farmers must register online by noon on June 19 and further correspondence will be sent to potential participants selected by AFBI for the targeted ‘Catchment Scheme’. Applicants will be notified by AFBI of the success of their involvement by July 31.