Project update: March 2020 - Hendre Ifan Goch: Soil sample results
By looking at the soil sample results, there seem to be a few common factors. The overall Carbon levels in the soils are good, however the active Carbon levels are low. This indicates a lack of soil biological activity. This generally happens as a result of a less than ideal habitat for them to survive in.
It appears from the samples that one of the key contributing factors in this instance is the free movement of water within the soil. This has almost certainly been exaggerated by the very wet weather over the last six months. It is assumed that instead of the water moving down through the soil, it has been sat in the top few inches (and cannot penetrate any deeper). As we’ve now seen a few weeks of dry weather, the top few inches dry out quite quickly, the ground appears very dry and grass growth seems to slow down. In all probability there is plenty of moisture further down in the soil that cannot be accessed by the roots.
A major initial task is to try to get this water moving through the soil, and create more favourable conditions for soil life.
Initial suggestions from grassland consultant, Gareth Davies Grassland Advisory Services Ltd.;
- The first thing to do is to aerate the soils and to add any necessary lime. A suggestion would be to dig more holes later in the season to see if we need to look a bit deeper. Getting the water moving as soon as possible will help remove the very high iron levels within the soil.
- Another suggestion would be to add some P+K to each of the fields for this year. There is a large bank of these elements in each of the samples but because of the lack of soil biological activity it is not currently available.
- Another common factor is the low levels of Boron, so adding granular Boron to each of the fields is suggested.
- Once the liming and aerating have been done, adding some Phosphorous stimulating Nitrogen based product would be an option, to help speed up the mobilisation of the soil biology, and start releasing the bank of nutrients within the soil.
Next steps to take;
Field 1 (Red 3) – 2.2T/Ha of Calcium Lime. Use P+K Fert or FYM. Aerate. Add Boron. Add Phos N.
Field 2 (Orange 3) – 200Kgs/Ha of Calcifert. Use P+K or FYM. Aerate. Add Boron. Add Phos N. Add Foliar Plant Stimulator (Maerite)
Field 3 (Purple 3) – No Lime but would consider Keyserite. P+K or FYM. Aerate. Add Boron. Add Phos N. Add Sulphur.