Soil Health for Growers Part 1



6-hour course on the principles of soil health and regenerative agriculture on UK farms.


  • Ever wanted to know what it is that makes plants grow strong and in drought?
  • Want to know how to convert consolidated soil into friable top soil that doesn’t saturate?
  • Like to know how to create the most beneficial environment for crops/stock on your farm?

Learn what the soil health principles are, where they are gleaned from and how their application improves- and creates soil crumb structure.

The soil health principles work, from large farms to market gardens, when implemented doggedly they bring real results: better soil structure, healthier crops and more consistent yields. What’s more, the farmers that have applied these principles the most rigorously have the more profitable operations today.

On this course, lead by Niels Corfield, you will:

  • Learn the whys and wherefores of regenerative agriculture, soil health and pasture management on grazed operations
  • Learn how to monitor soil/pasture on your farm.
  • Be introduced to new ways of thinking about the “farming problem” and new ways to monitor your farm.

Course Details

Session 1: Presentations

  • Regenerative agriculture- & soil health principles

Session 2: Workshop/Presentations

  • Analysis of soils/pasture on your farm,
  • Land under grass


  • Improving soil health / pasture health
  • Improving drainage and water holding on your land
  • Growing more and better forage/crops
  • Reducing reliance on external inputs or contractor services
  • Identifying opportunities for out-wintering & season extension
  • Getting feedback on-farm: monitoring & data, on-farm trials
  • Skills training on using Soilmentor and carrying-out basic tests


Regenerative Agriculture – The Broader Context

  • The imperative
  • 4 Ecosystem Processes

Empirical case for good soil management

  • How different strategies affect soil structure
  • Reducing grade-outs and crop failures
  • Minimising moisture stress

Defining soil health

  • How it’s articulated and how to measure it

How to take the perfect spade sample

  • Video and photo instructions
  • What to avoid, common mistakes
  • Handling soil and interpretation

Soil Health Principles

  • What they are & the processes that underpin them
  • Empirical evidence of their application on market gardens

Evidencing soil health:

  • Aggregation, spade tests, visual soil inspection

Aggregation and crumb structure:

  • What creates it, and how to maximise

Nutrient Cycling

  • Fostering nitrogen fixation for all crops

One Key Insight

  • Microbes Matter

Soil Health Principles

  1. Living Root – for as Long-/as Often as Possible
  2. Covered Soil – with Residues or Living Plants
  3. Minimise Disturbance/Compaction – Tillage
  4. Maximise Diversity – in Rotations/Plantings
  5. Feed Soils – with Organic Matter (Between Cropping)
  6. Incorporate Animals – Ideally Adaptive Grazed
  7. Minimise Use of Chemicals/Synthetics

Best Practice Management Solutions

  • Cultivation systems
  • Cover crops

Compost Systems

  • Traits of best practice options

Sign-Posts & Practical Tips

  • Case studies
  • Monitoring & trials
  • What to do this season
  • Tools & Technology
  • Soilmentor app –

Soilmentor Access

When enrolled you will be given complementary access to a Soilmentor account for use on the course, for: recording soils observations and comparing to other student’s observations.

Evergreen course

Life-time access to all content, resources and videos.

What you take away from the course

  • Digital hand-outs
  • PowerPoint presentations

Who is this course for?

  • Farmers & Arable Growers
  • Graziers, herdsmen & shepherds
  • Vets and veternary trainees/students
  • Landowners
  • Farm & estate managers
  • New entrants
  • Ecologists & advisors
Niels Corfield