Connecting soil health, environmental quality, plant productivity and nutrient dense food.

This is a workshop for cropping and grass farmers, land managers, consultants and anyone interested in creating healthy productive soils. We will discuss who lives in the soil, what they do and how we can all benefit from the activities of soil biota. Now that we know what is soil health, we need to spend some time knowing how to create and measure how our soils are changing.  Then there is the end product- food for people and animals and measuring mineral element density.  After that we can all (respectfully?) argue about who really cares.

Let’s not forget about the environment: as farmers and grazers we need to create healthy productive soils, beautiful landscapes (we are in Ireland this is no problem), grow lots of cheap nutritious food, and make sure no soil is lost or excess nutrients are leached into the environment. For the super humans this is no problem…….. right? How do we make our agroecosystems more nutrient and water use efficient?  What practices and plants can we use to help us? Creating a healthy soil reduces soil erosion and reduces nutrient losses from the system. Finding the balance on your farm will be critical.

We will try our best to get out to the field but climate change might have other ideas.  Please bring some soil, water, plant material (roots are welcome), and or grain for analysis- ¼ cup of each will be fine.  We welcome you to bring your USB microscope or microscope so we can look at soil floats.

Reference materials will be provided, including a subscription to the Rhizoterra website where we provide webinars, courses, and translate science into we can all understand it speak.



This is an approximate time line- except for when we start. The length of time each segment takes depends on the interest of the group.  There are some topics that need to be covered to set a foundation for the next segment.  There is always flexibility.


9:00 Welcome and Introductions

9:15 Introduction to concepts surrounding applied soil health * What is soil health, who lives in the soil, how do they function, and what are the benefits

10:00 Time for tea, coffee, snacking and networking

10:20 A practical guide on how to create a healthy soil

11:00 “Captain Underpants” a new twist on an old way to measure soil biological activity, other useful methods to measure soil health.  Activities on how to assess soil health.

Noonish Lunch, networking and thinking of questions


1:00  Show and tell- show us your plants and soils talk about problems and discuss solutions or ask more questions- in a room full of agronomists there is bound to be someone who knows the answer or who has tried to solve the problem before.

1:45  How we can use plants and crop rotations to solve some of our weed, disease and insect pest problems (slugs and snails included).

3:00 Afternoon tea, coffee, snack and more networking (feeling like a hobbit yet?).

3:20  Field trip- and or an activity on designing crop rotations, and pasture mixes. Exploring alternative crops and how they would affect soil health.

6:00 Summary discussion. Question and Answers.

We will also have USB microscopes working so participants can look at soil life.

We will also have a Rainfall simulator in action to demonstrate how rainfall effects different soils.