Farming Recovery Programme
One of Devon’s less visible but important assets is its soils. From the peat soils of Dartmoor, the red sandstones in mid Devon to the clay soils in North West Devon they all provide the raw material for both food production and the environment we all enjoy.
Maintaining and improving Devon’s soils will be a feature of the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM’s) that Defra will be introducing over the next 3 years as the Basic Payment Scheme method of supporting farmers is removed.
2022 brings the first element of this change with the introduction of grassland and arable soils standards under the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) which is open to all farmers (including those currently in Countryside Stewardship).
It offers payments between £28 and £58/ha on improved grass and £22 and £40/ ha on arable land for documenting the condition of the soil and testing for soil organic matter, introducing herbal grass mixtures, and reducing soil erosion.
Devon County Council, through BIP will be piloting on farm soil workshops aimed at helping farmers and landowners understand their soils and how they will be able take part in this first element of the SFI. The sessions will include a classroom session followed by a practical session on a local farm to put into practice the theory. They will be held across the county, so accessible by all.
The workshop will cover:
- How to assess soil texture by hand
- Taking representative soil samples
- How to assess compaction and run off on your farm
- Assessing soil health through earthworm counts
- Creating or improving your soil management plan
- Herbal leys and cover crops