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25 June 2020

The Defra ELMs consultation has gone live again and the discussion document is open to feedback until 31 July: share your views here. The department will also be running six interactive online seminars for farmers, foresters and land managers in England to discuss what the proposals mean for stakeholders. Find dates and register here.

The Soil Association are also running webinars to guide livestock farmers in the South West on the immediate changes to CAP: including proposed changes to farm payments, ELMs, public money for public goods and ways to boost resilience.

The Soil Association and National Trust have highlighted potential ‘shifting goalposts’ in terms of the language and inclusion of environmental priorities within ELMs, and have voiced their concerns in a blog for Wildlife & Countryside Link.

Researchers have created a model that can predict annual soil respiration in different parts of the world based on air temperature for each region. The method has been suggested as a cheaper, more efficient way to estimate soil respiration and carbon flux.

Scientists modelled carbon dynamics driven by microbes in soils exposed to drying and rewetting, finding that both dry and moist periods along with rewetting events shape microbial responses and identifying the mechanisms that govern microbial responses to moisture changes.

65,000 farmers in Nepal, 40% of which are women, are benefitting from the Agronomy and Seed Scaling project which has improved nutrition, incomes and soil health via the humble mung bean. Planting beans during the rice crop’s fallow period has been show to increase soil fertility and crop productivity by 25%.

The World Food Prize has been given to ‘a trailblazer in soil science’, Professor Rattan Lal, in recognition of his efforts to develop and mainstream a soil-centric approach to increasing food production whilst conserving natural resources and mitigating climate change. More detail on his work and ideas here.

The Australian Future Directions International has produced a short paper on the problem of carbon dioxide build-up and climate change, the process of soil carbon sequestration, and the benefits of carbon-rich soils for farmers and consumers.

There has been anger in an Indian village as men were caught extracting and stealing soil from a river bank, thought to be intended for brick kilns on the other side. Soil extraction erodes the embankment, putting farmland and homes at risk of flooding – as happened earlier this year.