UK Farming Dependent on Soil Health

Speaking on the Today Programme, Professor Dick Godwin spoke of the overemphasis on environmental issues in farming, rather than growing food for the people. The Royal Agricultural Society of England released a report today warning that England’s soils are being overworked.

Professor Dick Godwin said: “I think the major concern of the Royal Agricultural Society of England in commissioning this report was really in ‘Where do farmers get their advice from, where do they get new applied research?’.” Professor Godwin called for more research into how soil will adapt to a changing climate.

The society cite a combination of intensive agricultural techniques, dry summers and shifting growing seasons as causing a decline in soil quality. Certainly intensive agriculture has been at the heart of many of the problems that farmland specialist species have faced.

However in the report, Professor Godwin stressed the aim is to provide farmers with relevant up to date information, in order to secure Britain’s food supplies for the future.

A scheme similar to Professor Bill Sutherland’s Conservation Evidence may be the way forward in terms of effectively disseminating information. The success of the Conservation Evidence scheme so far, with the help of the British Ecological Society, has been highlighted in a recent interview with NERC in their Planet Earth publication.

Access the NERC interview here:

Check out the Conservation Evidence website here.