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Get digging! Best Soil in Show 2019 now open for entries

Winners of Best Soil in Show 2018 (c) James Hutton Institute
"Best Soil in Show highlights the importance of maintaining healthy soils and the many basic agricultural and ecological benefits they deliver"

Farmers: show us your soil! If you’re doing all you can to ensure it’s healthy and fit for purpose, then it could be a candidate for the James Hutton Institute’s Best Soil In Show competition, which is now open for entries.

The Institute and partners National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) and the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) are offering cash prizes in this year’s competition, as well as the Best Soil in Show trophy and a full soil analysis.

With increasing recognition that soil has to be functionally healthy for agriculture to be sustainable and that – more than ever – good, careful stewardship and management of the soils, including those under pasture, is essential for the future wellbeing of agriculture, the competition asks entrants what they are growing in the soil, the rotations they are operating and what they are adding to the soil: it's about what you do with what you have got.

Grass pasture - as well as arable soils - are in scope, and the competition is open to all farmers across Scotland, with an additional category for Young Farmers. Judges will assess all entries on their physical and chemical properties and look at the husbandry as much as the inherent cultivability of the soil type, to identify the winner on the 21st of June at this year's Royal Highland Show.

Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, said: “Soil is dear to my heart and it worries me that its importance has been overlooked for so many decades. Best Soil in Show aims to highlight the importance of maintaining healthy soils and the many basic agricultural and ecological benefits they deliver.

“There is more to be done and we can do this by putting soil health at the heart of government policy. Right now, going through the UK Parliament is the Agricultural Bill 2017-19, which will for the first time put in ambitious measures and targets in place to preserve and improve our soil health. Our soil health is under threat and once it's gone, it's gone - we need to take action now.”

Andrew McCornick, NFUS President, commented: “Healthy soils are fundamental to sustainable and profitable farming, so NFU Scotland is delighted to be supporting this very worthwhile competition – and in particular the category for young farmers, who will need the next generation of farmers and custodians of Scotland’s soils.

“I encourage NFU Scotland members to get involved in this competition and show the good work they do to protect and improve their soils.

“Healthy soils are precious and vital to the future of our industry. I’m delighted that the Union is supporting this competition which will help ensure that the health of Scotland's soils is sustained and improved for the future.”

The prize-giving for Best Soil in Show will take place at the Royal Highland Show, in the James Hutton Institute marquee. As well as the trophies and the glory (and the new cash prizes) the winners will receive full compositional, structural and chemical analyses of their soil and free entry to the Show.

This year, the closing date for entries is the 12th of April. To get full details, an application form and related documentation, click the links below:

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/get-digging-entries-open-best-soil-show-2019 on 16/02/19 02:12:16 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.