Countryfile feature for Soil Nutrient Health Scheme

Date published: 07 August 2023

Area of Expertise:

Dr Rachel Cassidy explained the soil sampling process to Emily McGowan of Millbank Farm, Co Down. While Sean Stevenson of NRM demonstrated soil analysis onsite at the NRM laboratories (Bracknell).


The Soil Nutrient Health Scheme featured on BBC1 Countryfile at the weekend. The £37M DAERA funded scheme is lead by AFBI. You can catch it on the iplayer if you missed it starting at 34:11
Adam Henson reported farms should soil test every 5 years. N Ireland is the first country in the world to survey soil at this level with 700k fields being sampled over the next 4 years.

During the episode Dr Rachel Cassidy (Scientific Lead, AFBI) explains the sampling process while visiting Emily McGowan - a Zone 1 young farmer from Co Down - of Millbank Farm. Emily comments that she is "excited to capture this information on her farm".
Adam Henson also visits Sean Stevenson (Commercial Director, Cawoods) at Bracknell to find out more about the soil sample analysis with Adam getting involved in the process. The purpose built robot to analyse organic matter is also demonstrated by Alison onsite.

Notes to editors: 

AFBI’s Vision is “Scientific excellence delivering impactful and sustainable outcomes for society, economy and the natural environment”.

AFBI’s Purpose is “To deliver trusted, independent research, statutory and surveillance science and expert advice that addresses local and global challenges, informs government policy and industry decision making, and underpins a sustainable agri-food industry and the natural and marine environments”.

AFBI’s core areas:

  • Leading improvements in the agri-food industry to enhance its sustainability.
  • Protecting animal, plant and human health.
  • Enhancing the natural and marine environment.

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