Soil sampling continues across ‘Zone 2’

Date published: 22 January 2024

Area of Expertise:

Soil sample collection as part of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme (SNHS) is ongoing within Zone 2, covering farm businesses who registered online across west Co. Armagh, south Tyrone and all of Fermanagh.

RPS staff setting out for a day of soil sample collection, Baronscourt, Omagh (courtesy of Brian Moore)

Once sampled, farms will receive their soil analysis results and recommendations after 4-6 weeks through the post or by email from NRM the analysis contractor. Over 70,000 fields in Zone 2 have been sampled to date with the current focus on intensive farmland which is more likely to receive nutrient applications early in the season. It is anticipated that Zone 2 completion will be early spring 2024.

In addition to the soil analysis results, farmers will receive access to farm maps through DAERA online services which will include details of the nutrient, pH and soil organic matter levels in each field; identify areas within fields prone to nutrient loss via runoff to waterways; and an estimate of the amount of carbon stored in their soils, hedgerows and trees. Training on Nutrient Management and the role of carbon on farms will be provided to all farmers by CAFRE. This will be offered in both online and face-to-face formats and more information on this is available at 

As the end of the closed period approaches farmers who have not yet been sampled are requested to inform RPS, the sampling contractors, if and when they are planning to spread slurry and apply fertiliser in order to assist with the soil sampling schedule and ensure samples are not collected within 6 weeks of application. Please contact by telephone (028 96928388) or by email

Further information:

Notes to editors: 

This £37 million DAERA-funded project is being delivered by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and is open to all Category 1 farm businesses in Northern Ireland, with a potential for up to 700,000 fields to be sampled by the end of the project in 2026. The aim of the four-year scheme is to improve sustainability and efficiency in the farming sector.

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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