Soil Nutrient Health Scheme milestone reached

Date published: 02 March 2023

Area of Expertise:

Soil sampling in Zone one of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme has continued at pace with the completion of Mr John Mercer’s farm in Dromara, Co Down in mid-February, closely coinciding with the scheme reaching the milestone of 100,000 fields sampled.

Dr Rachel Cassidy (AFBI) being interviewed for BBC NI Newsline

Following the prioritisation in January by DAERA of the lowland sampling to facilitate farmers who required their results for nutrient management planning and application, it was a notable achievement to reach the 100k fields sampled in Zone 1 by mid-February.

A cold snap during December had held back sampling in some areas but the sampling contractor, RPS Group, have progressed well to overcome this and are now on track for completion at the end of March/beginning April 2023.  To date there have been 111,000 samples collected and 51,700 sample results reported to farmers so far.         

Mr John Mercer (Farmer)
Mr John Mercer (Farmer)
BBC Newsline reported from Mr Mercer’s farm in Dromara, Co Down capturing sampler Jim Pow with supporting comment from Mr Mercer who extoled the benefits of sampling for his farm. Dr Rachel Cassidy, SNHS Project Lead (AFBI) reported the potential benefits of the scheme for nutrient management and water quality.

Mr Jim Pow, one of the samplers
Mr Jim Pow, one of the samplers
The dissemination of the soil analysis reports is ongoing with training opportunities from CAFRE being made available to all farmers in the coming weeks to support the implementation of Soil Nutrient Plans.

Zone 2 will be opening as scheduled in the southwest area covering Co Fermanagh, Co Armagh (west), Co Tyrone (south) in summer 2023. 

Contact: E:  T: 028 90 255 212

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