European crop production is facing a growing challenge to remain competitive, while at the same time reducing negative environmental impacts. Currently, production levels in some cropping systems are maintained by increased inputs, such as fertiliser and pesticides, and more advanced technology, which masks losses in productivity due to reduced soil quality. Such increased use of agricultural inputs may reduce profitability due to their costs, while also negatively affecting the environment.
The quality of agricultural land is also threatened by human action, leading to, often subtle and gradual, physical, chemical and biological degradation of the soil. This includes soil threats such as erosion, compaction, salinization, soil pollution, loss of organic matter and loss of soil biodiversity. Soil improvement is necessary to break the negative spiral of degradation, increased inputs, increased costs and damage to the environment.
In order to identify and evaluate promising soil-improving crop systems and agronomic techniques that will increase the profitability and sustainability of agriculture across Europe, the EU has funded research under its Horizon 2020 programme for a project called SoilCare (SoilCare for profitable and sustainable crop production in Europe).
The funding of £287,400 was secured in December 2015 and the CCRI is one of 28 collaborating partners, led by Wageningen University Research, The Netherlands. The project started on 1st March 2016 and will end on 31th August 2021.
The CCRI is the Work Package Leader for Dissemination and Communication in the project with the aim of ensuring effective knowledge exchange, raising awareness of soil related issues and ensuring that findings and practices from the project are disseminated and communicated widely and integrated into existing agricultural and advisory systems.
Jane Mills, Dr Julie Ingram, Jasmine Black and Charlotte Chivers are working on the project and their work focuses particularly on ensuring effective knowledge exchange between the project and farmers from the 16 study sites and ensuring effective knowledge exchange between the project and farmers. The final conference for the project takes place in June 2021.
- Visit the SoilCare project website.
- View this project on the EU CORDIS website
- Follow SoilCare on Twitter - @SoilCare_eu
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme for research and innovation grant agreement no 633814.
Project updates and activities
e Ingram, Jane Mills, Matt Reed, and Charlotte Chivers of the CCRI were recently involved in delivering two sessions at Eurosoil 2021.
The final SoilCare conference will take place on Thursday 24th June from 10:30-15:00 CET with the aim of disseminating the findings of our EU-funded project and inciting discussion surrounding our results and policy recommendations.
Today (5th December) is World Soil Day – a day to celebrate and raise awareness on the importance of our soils.
Can farmers improve their soil whilst increasing their profitability? This is a question that has been puzzling scientists on the SoilCare research project for the last four years.
CCRI researcher Julie Ingram was joined by PhD Kamilla Skaalsveen last week at the Wageningen Soil Conference in the Netherlands.
As the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation uses World Soil Day to raise awareness about soil health, it may come as little surprise to find out that soil doesn’t just impact our food supplies, it also helps clean water and lower risks of floods and droughts. More surprising is the SoilCare team’s efforts to treat profitability for farmers as a central priority – a consideration many research projects on environmental health overlook.
Jane Mills attended a Work Package leaders meeting for the SoilCare project at the Milieu offices in Brussels on 14th and 15th November.
Jane Mills and Julie Ingram attended the 3rd plenary meeting of the SoilCare project between 28th May and 1st June at the Legoland Conference Centre in Billund, Denmark, hosted by two SoilCare partners, AgroIntelli and Aarhus University.
Jane Mills was an invited expert at the EU workshop “Interactive innovation in action – Multi-actor project learning from each other” on 8th March, which was run by the agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-Agri) in Brussels.
Jane Mills has been at the BonaRes Conference in Berlin this week (26-28th February) where she made a presentation based on research under the EU funded RECARE and Soilcare projects.
On 14th February 2018, Jane Mills attended the “Where for UK soil after Brexit?” conference at the Soil Research Centre, Reading University, where she presented posters on the RECARE and SoilCare projects, on which she has been working.
Word Soil Day 2017 (5th December) captures the essence of the EU-funded project, SoilCare, which is identifying ways in which soil quality can be improved through cropping systems and techniques, benefiting both the profitability of farms and the environment.
Today is World Soil Day, when the attention of the world is focussed on one of our most important natural resources – soil. World Soil Day is held annually on 5th December to highlight the importance of soil on Earth, which we need for basic survival – food and energy.
Jane Mills is taking part in the fifth European Network of Soil Awareness – Joint Research Centre (ENSA-JRC) meeting in Bratislava on 28th – 29th September. The workshop is called ‘Giving Soils a Voice 2017’.
Jane Mills and Julie Ingram attended the 2nd SoilCare project plenary meeting in Chania, Crete from 13th-16th March.
Jane Mills talks to Faye Hatcher on BBC Radio Gloucestershire about the importance of soil and how it is often forgotten and undervalued as a global resource
5th December, is World Soil Day – the one day in the year that the United Nations asks us all to think about the role of soil in our daily lives. The CCRI has been collaborating on two major EU funded projects, SoilCare and RECARE, to investigate how soil quality can be improved.
Soil is always at the forefront of Jane Mills’ research and this coming week it is indeed all about soil as she attends various workshops and meetings around Europe to discuss soil issues.
CCRI has welcomed the recent report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee on Soil Health, which states that soil is often overlooked as an essential component to human life. Read Jane Mills’ blog about CCRI’s work in the challenge to address soil degradation.
CCRI was recently successful in securing around £287,400 EU Horizon 2020 funding as part of a project called SoilCare (SoilCare for profitable and sustainable crop production in Europe). SoilCare aims to identify and evaluate site-specific, soil-improving cropping systems and agronomic techniques that have positive impacts on profitability and sustainability in Europe.