Lab investment to help with SFI qualification


14 June 2022
Increase in grower demand for specific soil testing

INDEPENDENT provider of agronomic and environmental waste analysis for land-based industries, NRM, has invested in new laboratory equipment to help deal with the expected increase in demand for soil organic matter (SOM) analysis from farmers aiming to qualify for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI).

Business Development Manager Rory Geldard said while many farmers carry out soil testing every four years, a lot of standard soil testing does not include soil organic matter analysis. 

"The SFI requires SOM data as evidence of eligibility so, just because farmers have had soil testing done on their farms in the last four years, that doesn’t mean they will be qualified for the scheme," he said. "In fact, only 10% of the soil analysis we have undertaken in the past year has included SOM. We have seen an increase in these samples coming in recently as a result of the Incentive, reflecting growing interest in sustainable farming practices."

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The SFI aims to help farmers in England improve food production with environmentally sustainable land management practices. There are currently two standards available with different levels and payments, and each has differing expectations. A third advanced option is expected from DEFRA in due course. To be eligible for the scheme, evidence of soil organic matter analysis within the last five years must be provided.

The company has also updated its SOM analysis report with greater results interpretation to help farmers measure their organic matter, said Rory. 

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