Colebrooke and Strule Soil Testing and Training Initiative

Date published: 09 August 2018

If your farm is within the designated sub-catchments of the Colebrooke & Strule river systems in Fermanagh and Tyrone? Did you receive a letter from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), inviting you to register for the Soil Testing and Training Initiative?

Gráinne McCarney, CAFRE discussing the benefits of the Initiative with Trevor Dunn, Brookeborough.

Check your farm is within the eligible area.

If yes, then register now for this unique opportunity to avail of free soil sampling and training at the AFBI website.

The Initiative is delivered by AFBI on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and is supported by the Ulster Farmers Union.  All data will be held securely by AFBI, and will not be released in any form that would identify an individual farm.

Successful applicants will receive free:

  • Soil sampling;
  • Individual soil analysis results that include pH (acidity) and phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) status as well as recommendations for lime, phosphate (P205) and Potash (K20);
  • Training workshops to help understand what their soil analysis report means and how to use it effectively to plan lime, manure and chemical fertiliser applications.

Planning lime, manure and chemical fertiliser applications using soil analysis can help you:

  • Produce high quality grass and forage crops;
  • Improve and maintain soil fertility;
  • Save money on chemical fertilisers;
  • Improve water quality by reducing the risk of nutrient loss.

Feedback from farmers who participated in a similar scheme delivered by AFBI in 2017/18, which was targeted at a group of sub-catchments in the Upper Bann in the east of the Provence was very positive. Some of the comments following the analysis and training were:

“I didn’t realise soil analysis was so important and useful”. 

“I need to pay more attention to understanding the fertility of my soil and only put on the amount of slurry and fertiliser that is needed”.

“I was surprised when the soil analysis showed big differences in the fertility of my fields”.

“I was reminded that pH and lime is critical for soil. Putting on lime means that slurry and fertiliser is used much better by the plants”.

A maximum of 10,000 fields will be sampled on a first-come-first-served basis so go online and register now or before 12.00 noon on 17 August.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Guidance and registration documents can be found on the AFBI website.
  2. This Initiative follows on from the 2017 pilot scheme across Northern Ireland and in the Upper Bann sub catchment and are designed to test some of the recommendations made in the Sustainable Agri Land Management Strategy. 
  3. The department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the department’s internal records management system. The department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.
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  5. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office, or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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