IT'S NOT often you are asked to 'show off' your poorest soil, but the Soil Association are asking just that, as they hold their 'Muck and Money' events up and down the country.

Local farmers are being asked to bring a spadeful of their poorest soil along to a free events to get expert analysis and advice.

The events are in association with GrassMaster Charlie Morgan and Liz Stockdale, head of farming systems at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), will give practical, tailored advice on how to improve soil quality and profitability.

They will take place in Inverurie and Orkney, on Tuesday, March 6 and Wednesday, March 7 respectively.

Anne Willis of Glasgoforest Farm in Kinellar attended a Soil Association Grass Matters event last year and subsequently made useful changes. She said: “One field hadn’t performed well for a while. It was Autumn sown and looked great at first but when I took the sample along you could see it was wet and compacted.

“Charlie Morgan suggested we mob graze the sheep on it and look at Spring sowing instead, which we did, and it’s much better now. The mob grazing means the sheep eat everything down so the fresh grass can grow up – before, the stale grass was blocking the new."

Farming and land use manager at Soil Association Scotland, Lyn White, said: “We want people to bring along their poorly performing soil – we want the bad stuff. Our two experts are at the top of their field, pardon the pun, and physically pull the soil apart to analyse it and make suggestions.

“With Scottish farmers struggling with the weather, particularly wet summers, improving soil health by addressing compaction, for example, can extend the growing season. It’s all about optimum profitability.”