Soil Nutrient Health Scheme now open to farmers in Zone 1

Farmers in Zone 1 of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme (see attached map) should now apply online for the scheme via DAERA online services portal.

Farmers within Zone 1 will receive a letter from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) providing detailed guidance on how to complete the online registration process for the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme.

Farmers are urged to register as soon as possible after they receive their letter from AFBI. This will assist with contractor planning and ensure soil samples will be collected during this winter closed period, starting in November 2022.

It is very important for farmers to be aware that the Future Agricultural Policy Decisions for NI announced by Minister Poots in March 2022, includes a condition that participating in the SNHS will be required to be eligible for the Farm Sustainability Payment and Farming with Nature schemes. In addition, the Beef Sustainability Schemes will require eligible applicants to be in receipt of the Farm Sustainability Payment, thereby requiring participation in the SNHS. The SNHS information will also be very beneficial in helping farmers manage nutrient applications and know how much carbon is stored in their soil and biomass.

The information farmers will receive will include soil analysis results and farm maps: detailing the nutrient levels in each field; identifying fields prone to nutrient loss via run-off to waterways; and an estimation of the amount of carbon stored in their soils, hedgerows and trees. Training will be provided by CAFRE on Nutrient Management and the role of carbon on farms.

A set of Frequently Asked Questions is available for more information on the Scheme and also the Schemes Privacy notice.

Further information on the Scheme can be provided for farmers by contacting the AFBI SNHS Admin team by telephone (028 90 255212) or by email (SNHS@afbini.gov.uk).

Back to top