William Powell Country

Importance of Soil Science


Article written by 06 September 2012

NFU President to highlight importance of soil science to future food security

NFU President Peter Kendall will today spell out why soil is the farmer’s most important asset and vital to future food security in the UK.

Mr Kendall is due to address delegates at the British Society of Soil Science annual dinner where he will also explain that applied soil science can help farmers to deliver more.

“Good soil management is at the heart of ‘sustainable intensification’ which last year’s Foresight report identified as being the only way in which the world’s farmers can meet the challenge of producing 70 per cent more food, while making fewer demands on non-renewable resources,” said Mr Kendall.

“Soil science has not received its rightful share of attention in the UK in recent years, and yet it’s a vital component of increasing agricultural productivity. Good soil management is essential to higher yields, and higher yields are what the farmer needs for his business and the nation needs for the security of its food supply.

“First class soil management is also enormously valuable as an ecosystem service, reducing pollution and improving water quality. Making the most of our soils does not require yet more prescriptive regulation in the shape of a Soils Directive. However, it does demand that we re-focus our efforts on funding for applied soils research, supporting new technologies and effective knowledge exchange.

“We are, however, encouraged by a number of recent positive developments at places like Rothamsted Research while we also know that there is research going on within other UK institutions – some researchers are presenting their work at this meeting. This research needs to be translated into practical knowledge and innovative management solutions that UK farmers can apply to their land.

“At the end of the day healthy soils are absolutely critical and the foundation for any farming business; and soil science can help us to achieve our goal of producing more and impacting less.”


The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its Farmer and Grower members. It is the largest farming organisation in the UK, providing a strong, respected and independent voice for the indust.. Read more.

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