Soil Nutrient Health Scheme Zone 2 uptake

Date published: 19 September 2023

Area of Expertise:

AFBI has confirmed registrations for Zone 2 of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme (SNHS) closed at the end of August with a final registration of 189,959 fields, representing 92% of the declared fields and accounting for 92% of the 7427 registered farm businesses.

Zone 2 uptake at 92% for The Soil Nutrient Health Scheme

The Zone covers the remainder of farms in Co Armagh, South Tyrone, which were not included in Zone 1, and all of Co Fermanagh. 

Soil sample collection for the £37m DAERA funded scheme managed by AFBI is due to commence in Zone 2 from November 2023 until March 2024 and this will also include a ‘mop-up’ of any remaining farms in Zone 1, who have now registered online.

An AFBI spokesperson commented: “Following the sampling and analysis of 132,700 fields in Zone 1, there are currently soil sample collection routes being planned for the registered fields in Zone 2.  The majority of fields will be sampled from November onward, but where early sampling has been requested AFBI’s soil collection contractor, RPS Group, will prioritise those from mid-September on”.

Zone 2 Next Steps

All Zone 2 farmers will be contacted in advance of sampling by RPS Group in the coming weeks where there will be the opportunity for farmers to inform the sampling team of any fields with late slurry/manure applications.

An AFBI spokesperson added: “Once the fields have been sampled farmers can expect to receive their soil sample analysis results and recommendations direct from the soil analysis contractor, NRM, within 4-6 weeks. They will subsequently be provided with access to their map-based soil nutrient results and runoff risk maps through the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme Application in their DAERA Government Gateway account. Estimates of carbon in soil and above ground biomass will be made available later in 2024/25”.  

CAFRE will be in contact after field sampling to advise on how the farmers can receive training on interpreting their soil analysis results and to understand carbon estimates within their farm. 

An update about accessing the SNHS training is being disseminated at a series of 3 on-farm events organised by CAFRE at which AFBI will also give an update on the SNHS soil analysis results and trends within Zone 1.

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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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