Survey of Soil Structural Condition in Grassland

Grass cutting and collection

There are approximately 5 million hectares of managed grassland in England and Wales, representing c.60% of the managed agricultural area (i.e. excluding rough grazing). Grassland soils provide a number of provisioning and regulating services, including food production, climate change mitigation and flood regulation, and also perform an important habitat support role. However, the services provided by grassland soils are ‘under pressure’ from livestock grazing and machinery use etc. A recent survey of grassland soil condition in England and Wales used bulk density and visual soil evaluation methods to assess the physical condition of grassland soils. The results indicated that 2 - 3 million hectares of grassland in England and Wales were in ‘moderate’ physical condition and that 500,000 - 750,000 hectares were in ‘poor’ condition; thereby potentially compromising the delivery of important food production and environmental protection services.

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