Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme may lead to ‘postcode lottery’ over soil carbon

Written by Charlotte Cunningham from CPM Magazine

Farmers face a ‘postcode lottery’ if plans to reward them financially for increasing soil carbon stocks are to be introduced, warns Rothamsted soil scientists. Presenting their data this week at the University of Cambridge, Rothamsted’s Professor Andrew Neal and Professor David Powlson said geological history alone, which determines the type of soil found on a farm, will make capturing more carbon in the soil “nigh on impossible” for some farmers. Speaking ahead of the conference, Professor Neal said: “If you farm on sandy soils, as is the case for farmers in places such as Bedfordshire or Nottinghamshire, then you will struggle to increase the carbon content of your soil. You might be doing all the right things to increase the carbon flowing through your soil, but it won’t show up when they come to test your soil.” Common ways to improve soil carbon include the addition of manures or crop residues, growing cover crops in the winter and the rearing of grazing livestock and crops together. Under proposals put forward by the Government as part of its post-Brexit shake up of UK agriculture, farmers would be paid to manage their farms using such environmentally friendly practices, often termed ‘regenerative agriculture’.…
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JCB launches Fastrac ‘iCon’

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Written by Charlotte Cunningham from CPM Magazine

JCB has launched new Fastrac 4000 and 8000 Series tractors with an all-new electronics infrastructure which is claimed to deliver higher levels of performance. According to JCB, the new Fastrac iCon operator environment has three key features: iConfigure – creating a bespoke control experience for every operator iConnect – integrating advanced precision agriculture technology iControl – redefining operation through new driveline software The 175hp to 348hp (133kW to 260kW) Fastracs feature the new iCon armrest console and touch-screen display to provide flexibility in operator allocation and operator information, as well as a new transmission control strategy to enhance operator comfort and powertrain efficiency, says the manufacturer...