Fletcher Farming
Farmers and agricultural contractors

copyright © All rights reserved website by Mark

Did all your fields yield to their potential this year?

Frontier Technical Brief 8/10/15


Norfolk grower Mark Fletcher explains how strategic sampling was conducted on his land. “Understanding the different soil type zones meant the sampling for P and K was targeted rather than the standard W formation. We placed our sample points strategically to capture all the different areas, checking not only variation in soil type but also if any other factors were affecting nutrient levels, so that we could target our inputs better.”

SOYL used these samples to identify phosphate, potash, magnesium and pH levels. This level of analysis can pick up variation even within similar soil types that growers may never have realised was there and addressing this is crucial; areas below target indices can have a detrimental effect on the overall performance of a field and potentially incur significant yield penalties. Nutrient sampling gives a true starting point, providing accurate maps that can be used to target fertiliser where it is needed and reduce waste. That means potentially reduced fertiliser bills as well as a healthier crop. SOYL regional manager Peter Croot explains why it’s so important to understand our soils and treat them with care. “The soil is the engine room,” he says. “The chemistry, physiology and biology of the soil all need to be in balance for crops to thrive. Precision techniques enable those properties to be accurately assessed, so we can look at a field in detail rather than managing it based on

an average.”

Mark appreciates the importance of soil health. As well as treating each area with the care it needs and targeting his inputs, he grows cover crops prior to sugar beet to retain nutrients and prevent leaching, and has also reduced cultivation's across the land. “Soil is a living organism that needs to be healthy if it’s to work well,” he reasons. “If I can target my inputs and work the land so that both the soil and the crops are healthy, that has to be good for yields.”