Soil Improvement Programme

Soil Improvement Programme

At Devenish, we believe in the concept of One Health from Soil to Society. Healthy soil will produce healthy forage for healthy livestock and a healthy environment, whilst helping to improve productivity and profitability on farm.

Grass is the cheapest source of nutrients for ruminants, so naturally it is important to maximise grass utilisation. However, grass quality is also key for productivity and animal health. According to a survey by Thomson & Joseph, mineral trends for grass silage over the past 20 years have shown an approximate 50% increase in potassium, a doubling in iron and a 33% increase in molybdenum. All 3 elements are implicated in cattle nutritional diseases as risk factors for hypocalcaemia, depressed immunity and infertility.

Improving grass nutritive value and yield starts with the soil.

As such, we have teamed up with Thomson & Joseph to deliver a simple but effective 3 step Soil Improvement Programme. The Programme is suited to both conventional and organic farms.

Three step soil improvement programme

STEP 1. PHYSICAL - Aeration

Compaction can limit grass yields by up to 40%, whilst creating mineral imbalances within forage and the potential for nutrient run-off. Aerating spring and autumn, when the soil is dry, can help to break up compaction and improve air penetration. This improves drainage, encourages root development and stimulates soil life.

STEP 2. CHEMICAL - Rebalancing the Soil's Nutrient Status

Undertaking soil analysis helps to identify and correct any nutrient deficiencies in the soil. In particular, the calcium-magnesium balance is important for creating a stable soil structure in terms of allowing air penetration, providing an environment for soil life to flourish, improving drainage and increasing resistance to soil compaction.

STEP 3. BIOLOGICAL - Aerobically Composting Slurry

Aerobically composting slurry using biological additive, Digest-it®, has been proven to improve the fertiliser nutrient value of the slurry, resulting in higher grass yields1, thus increasing the cost effectiveness of slurry by reducing the need for inorganic fertiliser. As such, it reduces crusting and the energy required to agitate or pump slurry. It has also been shown to reduce ammonia levels2, thereby helping improve soil life and reducing the environmental impact of slurry. It is also approved for organic use.

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1 Devenish's 2015 Dairy Slurry Trials showed that the treated slurry had a 23% increase in yield over untreated slurry.

2 Devenish's 2014 Pig Slurry Trials recorded a 34% reduction in ammonia levels in the treated slurry compared with untreated slurry.

More information about the Soil Improvement Programme

Please visit our dedicated website for more information on the 3 Step Soil Improvement Programme.