RHIZA Helps Save Customer Time and Hassle




Case Study

Alex Rogers

Crop Input Specialist, North of England

Alex Rogers, Crop Input Specialist with the North of England team, explains how he used RHIZA to produce a soil management plan (SMP) that fulfilled the requirements of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI).

The SFI represents an opportunity to be paid for delivering positive environmental actions. Some of the practices required under the SFI are activities that many farmers will be undertaking anyway either because they benefit their farming system or support a selfless desire to promote biodiversity across their farm. Being paid to do something you are already doing therefore, holds obvious appeal. The challenge comes in demonstrating that these actions are being fulfilled in such a way that satisfies the needs of the body willing to pay for them, in this case DEFRA.

Digital tools in the Contour platform can be used to support soil management compliance applications to access SFI payments, such as observations at farm and field level.

We were approached by a customer in the East Riding of Yorkshire to produce the data needed to demonstrate compliance with the soil management requirements of the SFI. Initially this involved a series of soil assessments as part of the requirement to promote soil organic matter but was expanded to consider a comprehensive report that identified the actions required to protect all soils. With the River Hull bordering the farm, surface run-off and nutrient leaching were a serious concern and the actions identified had to reflect this consideration.

Using the digital tools in RHIZA the locations of the soil assessments were saved as observation points on a map of the farm in Contour. This means they are recorded for reference and can be accessed again if needed in the future. With the required soil data to hand, it was possible to identify those practices that would protect the soils. The light friable soil of this farm is especially vulnerable to wind erosion and nutrient leaching, so retaining stubble and the need to avoid leaving cultivated land unworked were identified as action points. Where the topography of the land also raised the risk of erosion, this was highlighted as being at higher risk and further protective measures listed.

Much of the guidance that came from the assessment is established best practice and had already been adopted. This served to reassure the customer that many of the practices already in place were appropriate.

Perhaps more importantly, he had a clearly laid out report that identified the environmental risks and the measures employed to mitigate them that could be used as evidence of compliance if needed. That this was a service RHIZA could provide, removed the stress of producing his own report and saved him valuable time that could then be focussed elsewhere.