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Soils for Profit

The Soils for Profit (S4P) project works with farmers to help them improve their management of soils, nutrients, and manures.

This project aimed to help make farm businesses more efficient and improve profitability whilst reducing their environmental impacts by providing advice, training, and demonstrations.  The advice also provided suitable evidence to support applications to the FFIS scheme.

Working in partnership with the Environment Agency and DEFRA, Natural England delivered the S4P project.  Project delivery was in the form of:

  • An initial free on farm advisory visit and written review and action plan to identify practices and items which will deliver the greatest economic and environmental returns;
  • Signposting to other parts of the RDPE, including R4F and Environmental Stewardship; and
  • Group events and demonstrations.

The S4P on-farm resource reviews have been closed to new registrations to allow time for those who have already registered to be visited.

Current S4P achievements

Since October 2009 the S4P on-farm resource reviews have provided over 2,800 farmers (who manage over 400,000 hectares of land across the South West) with practical, hands-on training to help them manage their soils, manures and nutrients more efficiently, to save money on expensive inputs and to benefit their local environment.

The advice has been farm-specific and has also included a signposting service to other sources of advice and support including grant assistance from the SWARM Small Capital Grant Scheme, the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) and the Catchment Sensitive Farming Capital Grants Scheme.

Since 2011 a free analysis of five soil samples has also been made available to help inform the on-farm advice (The results of which can be found here). 

The S4P project also ran a series of well attended events looking at soil, manure and nutrient management and practical issues concerning farming in an NVZ. However, the 2012/13 programme of Soils for Profit (S4P) Project events has been brought to a close by a successful series of guest speaker engagements at agricultural colleges across the South West, designed to introduce the next generation of farmers to the benefits of farming their land more precisely, to save money on expensive inputs and improve their local environment. The latest season of S4P events has seen the successful delivery of 22 NVZ workshops, 29 nutrient planning (PLANET) workshops, 10 ‘Farming More Precisely’ (FMP) “case study” farm events, 12 FMP guest speaker appearances and 10 NVZ guest speaker appearances at farmer group meetings and colleges across the South West Region.

The S4P Project Team would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved in organising, delivering and supporting this programme of events. The feedback from farmers, students & other participants has been excellent.

Uptake of the capital grant scheme from S4P

Following on from an advice visit, farmers previously were able to put the advice into practice and receive grant on eligible items through the small capital grant scheme. Click on the graph on the left to see what farmers invested in. The small capital grant scheme has now been superseded by the FFIS scheme.

To read a case study from a farmer who has been through the S4P process and has been successful in receiving a grant please click here.

 

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Soils in the South West