Dr. Jackie Stroud of Rothamsted Research has a request for this year's Groundswell Attendees: As part of her ongoing cutting-edge research into the differences between tilled and un-tilled soils, Jackie is asking Groundswell Attendees to bring their soil samples along for testing on the day.
If you'd like to be part of an exciting nationwide survey of soil surface aggregate stability, then read on:
Rothamsted Research National Aggregate stability survey:
Arable soils are inherently less stable than grasslands or hedge lines and the surface layer of arable soils is disproportionally affected by management practices, particularly tillage intensity and organic matter inputs. Stable aggregates are resistant to disruptive forces (e.g. raindrops), which impacts percolation and runoff (and soil erodibility), crustability (which may impact crop germination and emergence) and carbon storage – thus aggregate stability is an important indicator of sustainable agricultural practices.
Over the past 3-years we have been studying the science behind soil aggregation, and we’d like your help to build up a better picture of soil health around the country.
- Two samples per field needed. Sample 1: collected from the field (= soil management) and sample 2: Field edge (= best case scenario e.g. grass, hedgerow etc.)
- Soil sample measures the top 5 cm (2 inches) only
- Using a trowel collect a scoop of the surface soil. Limit disturbance of the soil as this damages the soil aggregates – ideally place the sample directly into a Tupperware box for protection and transport.
- Storage – soil samples are best kept in the fridge (4C).
- If you’re interested in a quick table-top demo of your soils on the day, then please air-dry a small portion of each chilled sample.
Jackie has kindly offered to report back to farmers who submit their soil samples with results of the Rothamsted lab assessment. To do so, you can leave your email address with her on the day.
You can find Jackie's stand in the Black Barn by the Conference Barn on both days of Groundswell.