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Treat your soil like a Victoria sponge.

AT Llysun, Mr Tudor is also addressing compaction in his clay loam soils - he reckons it has reduced performance by up to 40% in some fields.

Work has focused on his silage fields, where heavy machinery had caused compaction.

Dug-out holes revealed a compacted layer beneath the first few inches of surface soil which was causing waterlogging.

"Compaction is a slow burner," he said. "You don't realise there is a problem until it is acute. We needed to get the soil working properly, to get some air down into the roots and to give those roots the environment in which to make better use of nutrients."

This summer Mr Tudor invested in a ballast aerator and aerated 30% of his farm. For deeper compaction on recently bought land, he used a soil slitter.

He doesn't expect instant results but he said soil quality in aerated fields were already improving.

Mr Tudor aerated in late spring, when ground conditions were dry. His timing was in part dictated by a homespun approach.

"Although I've never baked a cake I have been advised that testing a cake to see if it is cooked is similar to that for checking the soil," he said.

"If you insert a skewer into a cake it will come out clean when the cake is baked, it won't be sticky.

"The same is true if you poke a blade or spade into the soil: if soil sticks to it, the ground is not ready to be aerated."

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Nov 29, 2018
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