Soil is the critical first link in the food chain, with populations of trillions of bacteria and microorganisms in each gramme of material. They live off dead plant material and, in turn, become food for the protozoa, nematodes and arthropods higher up the soil food chain. The latter are then eaten by birds and small mammals and so the cycle continues.
We are working hard to understand our soils and to find ways to farm in a 'soil-friendly' manner to promote healthy populations of flora and fauna. The key is to preserve organic matter and we are experimenting with various direct drilling techniques on parts of our arable land, as well as using composts (made from recycled household green waste) and farmyard manures. Additionally, the cattle are being 'mob-grazed' which builds soil organic matter incredibly quickly and we hope to see increasing farmland bird and mammal populations as a result.