Author: Paul Brown | Published: June 6, 2017
Long-term success for farmers depends on how they treat their soil, especially as climate change is making rainfall patterns more unreliable.
The make-up of soils varies enormously, sometimes from one field to another. Clay, which holds four times as much water as coarse light sand, can be a big advantage, but with too much rain can become waterlogged, leading to drowned crops. Clay soils also compress under heavy farm machinery.
A good mixture of soil particles is preferable but whatever the composition farmers have to care for their greatest single asset; they need to boost the capacity of soil to hold water, especially for annual crops, particularly in the dry east of England. Even established plants reach “wilting point” when half the available water in the soil is used up.