Farm advice on benefits of organic matter for soil structure and crop yield from Tom Sizmur

On Tuesday 10th February Dr. Tom Sizmur met with growers in Essex and Hertfordshire at Manuden Village Community Centre to talk about how soil structure and crop yield can be improved by adding organic matter to soils and boosting earthworm populations.

Tom presented results from a suite of field experiments designed to demonstrate that cereal crop yield could be improved by adding organic matter to soils because the organic matter acts as a food source for earthworms.  Research was carried out in collaboration with Rothamsted Research.  The earthworms reduce the strength of the soil and provide a medium that enables plant roots to establish faster.

worms

This presentation was part of an ongoing contribution to a suite of workshops delivered by the Soil and Water Management Centre in partnership with Natural England’s Catchment Sensitive Farming Programme. The workshop was introduced by Sarah Asberry, the Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer for the Mimshall Brook, Upper Roding and Upper Lee & Stort catchments. Other topics covered included soil biology and health by Professor Karl Ritz of Nottingham University, and cover crops from agronomist Nick Green of T Denne & Sons.

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