Soil Health Research to be Featured at AFBI Open Days in June

Date published: 15 May 2024

Area of Expertise:

In June 2024, The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) will host two Open Day events at AFBI Hillsborough.

Scientist presenting in front of posters displayed in a field

The first event, on Tuesday 18 June, will focus on the Dairy sector, while the second event on Wednesday 19 June, will focus on Beef and Sheep.

The Open Days will showcase the latest AFBI Research on topics such as soil health, grassland management, animal genetics, heifer rearing, suckler cow fertility, dairy cow nutrition, beef cattle nutrition and sustainable solutions for livestock slurry.

AFBI research on soil health will feature on both days. Soil health is crucial in order to optimise nutrient use efficiency and make the best economic use of applied slurry and inorganic fertilisers. Soil health is determined by its chemical, physical and biological status. The health of a soil is monitored by a number of indicators, that can be measured and provide information about the functioning of a soil.

The NI Soil Nutrient Health Scheme (SNHS) is currently assessing the chemical status of soils across Northern Ireland by measuring nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and sulphur, along with soil pH and organic matter. The Open Day events will provide an update on the SNHS, as well as presenting recent work monitoring a number of important soil biological indicators across NI soils (for example earthworm numbers, enzymes and microbial biomass).

In addition, practical advice will be given on how to manage soil physical health, including protecting soil from compaction. Compaction is a particular threat to soil health due to the recent trend towards prolonged wet weather which has resulted in very challenging ground conditions, especially in spring.

Registration for these events is essential and can be found at or by scanning the QR code:

QR Code for Registration

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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