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PJ Phelan: Why we need to make a concentrated effort to improve our soils

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Farmers hard at work. Photo Roger Jones.

Farmers hard at work. Photo Roger Jones.

Every time we get rain, our rivers turn brown as a result of loss of soil from land to water

Every time we get rain, our rivers turn brown as a result of loss of soil from land to water

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Farmers hard at work. Photo Roger Jones.

On Tuesday last I attended a field meeting facilitated by BASE Ireland for the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF). BASE is a voluntary group of Irish farmers who trial and develop methods to improve their land. The focus of BASE is to improve soil health with the establishment of crops with minimal soil disturbance (no ploughing), protecting soil with either growing crops or crop residue and using a combination of crop rotations and catch crops to improve soil structure.

Pesticide and fertiliser usage is kept to a minimum so as to enable financially viable crops with least damage to soils and the environment.


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