Soils and cultivation

Specialists from across NIAB are involved in a wide range of soil management and cultivation research projects. We have the specialist capability and resources not only to measure and monitor soil physical properties but also to interpret these results within a crop production context and to provide meaningful guidance to farmers and the wider industry.

Research includes studies to:

  • examine the interactions between cultivation systems and rotational approaches.
  • explore the effects that different traffic systems have on soil compaction and crop performance.
  • develop systems where shallow tillage can be used on a sustainable basis with confidence.
  • determine the value of soil amendments within defined approaches.
  • consider the impact that changes in practice may have on erosion and pollution issues.
  • look at nutrient usage, uptake and availability in a range of soil types.

Specific measurements used to quantify soil structural properties include:

  • soil strength (cone penetrometer)
  • soil cohesion (shear vane)
  • water infiltration (tension infiltrometer)
  • soil moisture content and bulk density
  • aggregate size distribution
  • soil structure assessments (Peerlkamp method)