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Earthworm on Mound of Dirt on Hands
/ Inside Food science
/ Inside Food science

Biodiversity in soil – why it matters to us all

Just how important is biodiversity in soil, and are we doing enough to protect and promote it?

These are the big questions many working in the agricultural sector are asking on a near-daily basis.

In this episode of the Food Matters Live podcast, made in partnership with Anglo American, we delve into the crucial role biodiversity plays in soil health, and ask what role fertilizers have to play in protecting it.

We have made episodes in the past looking at how important biodiversity is within soil, and it can be incredibly complex stuff.

The British journalist, author and activist, George Monbiot has previously told this podcast soil is home to as diverse and abundant an ecosystem as a coral reef. 

Protecting that biodiversity is as crucial now as it has ever been, but the question is: How can that be done, whilst also maintaining crop yields?

Biodiversity plays a big part in our lives. The UN defines it as the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms.

But why is it so important? Why does it need to be protected? And what impact can fertilizers have?

We know fertilizers play a crucial role in growing crops, particularly on a large scale, but how can the use of sustainable fertilizers support biodiversity?

Listen to the full episode to learn more about the 4Rs approach to sustainable fertilizer use, find out why simply adding lots of nutrients to soil is rarely the best approach to farming, and discover the farming practices that are setting the standards for the future.

POLY4 Fertilizer

POLY4 is the trademark name for polyhalite products from Anglo American. It is a naturally-occurring, low-chloride, multi-nutrient fertilizer certified for organic use.

It includes four of the six key macro nutrients that all plants need to grow: potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium, and a range of valuable micro nutrients.

It allows farmers to maximise their crop yield, increase quality and improve soil structure with one simple product.

Previous episodes featuring Anglo American

How do we stop the rapid erosion of essential soils?

Can regenerative agriculture fix our food system?

What can be done to ensure that agricultural practices are sustainable?

Colin Chappell, Arable Farmer, Northern Lincolnshire

Colin looks after approximately 645 hectares of farmland. He is part of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and is a strong advocate for knowledge exchange between farmers, which he believes is key to furthering our personal journeys and navigating the challenges of the years ahead.

Colin partners with a charity called The Country Trust, that enables disadvantaged school children to visit farms to educate them about where their food comes from.

He recently won The Rawcliffe Bridge Award for Sustainability 2022.

Eloise Griffin-Hicks, Commercial Agronomist for the UK & Ireland, Anglo American

Eloise is responsible for gathering data about POLY4 from the field through conducting small plot and split field experiments.

She has a BSc in Agriculture from the Royal Agricultural University, is BASIS and FACTS qualified.

Eloise spent time working for a chemical company running trials, then moved to an agricultural merchant on the south coast running their trials programme, whilst also having commercial agronomy customers throughout Hampshire.

Share this episode:

Colin Chappell

Contributor

Arable Farmer, Northern Lincolnshire

Soil is my entire focus. It is a living, beathing system on its own.

Colin Chappell

Eloise Griffin-Hicks

Contributor

Commercial Agronomist for the UK & Ireland, Anglo American

If we keep on taking from the land and disrupting the natural processes, we're going to be left with nothing in a very short space of time.

Eloise Griffin-Hicks