Skip to main content

6 October 2023

Scotland’s new Agriculture and Rural Communities Bill was introduced this week, which will provide farmers with support to make sustainable changes, including help to protect and improve soil heath and carbon capacity of soil. It’s expected that the bill will be adopted by summer 2024, and promises to boost regenerative farming in Scotland. 

Scientists have warned that ignoring rising soil temperatures will have severe consequences if left unaddressed. It’s been shown that soil is warming 0.7 degrees celsius faster per decade than the air, which increases the risk of carbon being released into the atmosphere. 

A study has shown that earthworms contribute to 6.5% of the world’s grain production, matching Russia’s contribution at 140 million tonnes. It reinforces the important role that earthworms play in food production through their maintenance of healthy soil, and for the first time puts a value on soil biodiversity. 

Tree planting schemes in the tropics could be damaging environments rather than helping to restore them. Scientists warn that ecosystems are being reduced to only their carbon value through carbon capture schemes that focus on single species tree planting, causing soil acidification and risking the intensification of wildfires.

Researchers at the Universities of Newcastle and Nottingham have developed a Squirrel box - a new technology which monitors soil conditions. It incorporates artificial intelligence and decentralised communication to ensure the recorded data is reliable and protected. It aims to enable data-led decision making and improve overall soil health.

The first UK farm which sold measured carbon from arable land is set to replace its government subsidy payments with carbon sales. Through its focus on improving soil health, the Leicestershire farm has sequestered a total of 5,000 tonnes of carbon, generating a potential annual income of around £160,000.

English growers are being advised by Maize Watch to drill immediately after harvesting maize in order to protect soil. Doing so will protect from rain, and reduce the risk of runoff and soil loss. It is recommended that winter wheat or Italian ryegrass is planted to benefit the soil. 

Arts Catalyst is hosting an event exploring the importance of human connection to soil. The gathering encourages discussion around soil degradation and teaches attendees how to positively engage with soil and promote soil care through an artistic lens.