Welsh Soil Discussion Group

Welsh Soil Discussion Group

The Welsh Soils Discussion Group was set up to encourage discussion and interest in the study of soils in Wales. The group provides an oportunity for British Society of Soil Science members and others with an interest in soil from different institutions/ industry to meet and discuss problems and topics of common interest.

Group Chair: Ian Rugg

Group Secetary: Mrs Sarah Coe

Group Treasurer: Vacancy

Contact WSDG

Latest posts

Zoom into Soil

Event date: 
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Event venue: 
Go To Webinar
Event description: 

Zoom into Soil: Erosion will take place on Wednesday 2 September from 12:00 – 1:00pm and is free of charge for all delegates. 

‘Zoom into Soil: Erosion’, will feature Professor Jane Rickson and farmer John Chinn who will discuss erosion from both an academic and practical perspective, setting out the challenges which erosion poses, proposed solutions and the long-term implications of erosion if left unchecked.

In her presentation, Professor Rickson will describe the main processes of soil erosion and the different types of erosion operating in the UK. She will present the evidence on the rates of soil loss and whether these are sustainable, especially in the light of extreme weather events and climate change. She will set to quantify the impacts of soil erosion in monetary terms, as this justifies the costs of soil conservation (soil erosion control) policy and practices.

Farmer John Chinn, will outline his first-hand experience with gulley erosion, the impact this had on his crop, the relationship with his customers and the Environment Agency as a result. John will set out how he has worked with Cranfield University to secure his farms from the long-term challenges associated with erosion, whilst maximising crop yields and accruing some thoughts on the meaning of soil health.

To book a place at the seminar visit Go To Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8973969123043000590


'Zoom into Soil': Nutrient Efficiency

Event date: 
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Event venue: 
Go To Webinar
Event description: 

‘Zoom into Soil’: A new online webinar series

A new lunchtime online webinar series, ‘Zoom into Soil’ is an opportunity for anyone with an interest in soil, the natural environment, agriculture and food production, to hear from respected technical and academic experts.

‘Nutrient Efficiency’ will take place on Wednesday 22 July from 12:00 – 1:00pm and is free of charge to attend.

Speakers, Richard Reeves and Martin Blackwell, will provide an overview of their experience from both practical and academic viewpoints.

Organised by the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS), delegates attending 'Nutrient Efficiency’ will hear from first generation farmer Richard Reeves and Dr Martin Blackwell, a senior research scientist at Rothamsted Research.

Richard Reeves’ 'from the farm' perspective, will set out the importance and role of managing soil nutrients, placing particular emphasis on recycled nutrients such as sludgecake and green waste and the significant impact the ways this waste is treated prior to application, can have. Richard will discuss the Met Office records that he has been keeping over many decades, the patterns emerging, and how these are impacting soils and the application of nutrients. 

Martin Blackwell’s presentation, Caught between a rock and a hard place: how can we use phosphorus fertilisers more efficiently? will discuss the finite rock phosphate resources and the risk which the threat of this dwindling resource brings: protecting future food production. Martin will discuss the fundamental changes which need to be made to the way phosphorous fertilisers are sourced to maintain food supplies for a growing global population.  

The hour-long session, which will also provide the opportunity for delegates to ask questions, will be available on the BSSS Youtube page after the event.

To book a place at the first seminar visit Go To Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8466368584565601551.  

BSSS will host future webinars on 2 September and 7 October, with further monthly dates and registration details to be announced.

Speaker Biographies

Richard Reeves

Richard Reeves is a first generation farmer. Since 1981, he has farmed 800 acres of land in Cheshire, using a wide combination of crops on a range of different tenancies. Prior to this, in the 1970s, Richard was involved in farm management with Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and worked closely with the Duke of Westminster. Richard obtained a BSc(Hons) in Agriculture from Leeds University, and in the last 15 years, he has kept a close affiliation with Lancaster University, hosting students visits to his farm. He has also been a visiting speaker for environmental science students, talking on a range of topics, including UK farming practices. Richard is a former Chairman of the National Farmers' Union's (NFU) North West Crops board, and was a spokeman on organic resources. 

Martin Blackwell

Dr Martin Blackwell is a Senior Research Scientist at Rothamsted Research, UK. He is a soil biogeochemist with over 25 years’ experience of studying both phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) cycling. Recent work has focussed on P use efficiency and P cycling in arable and grassland systems, the role of organic P in plant nutrition, and the development of better P fertiliser application rate recommendations. 



IES Webinar: Sustainable soil remediation: seeking alternatives

Event date: 
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Event venue: 
Event description: 

Wednesday 3rd June 2020: 12:30 - 1:15pm

The IES and British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) have joined together to bring you the second episode in a series of webinars exploring the topic of sustainable soil remediation. 

Traditionally, soil remediation is achieved by excavation and removal for off-site disposal. Often referred to as ‘dig and dump’, the very use of the phrase indicates that it’s a wasteful methodology.

Whilst, the use of dig and dump appeared to slow through the 2000s due to increasing charges brought about by the landfill tax escalator, its use has been enabled and even promoted in recent years through the operation of soil treatment sites and reclamation facilities.

In this presentation, TRC examine this process to explore the wider environmental impacts of this type of methodology i.e. air emissions, carbon impact, fuel consumption, traffic generation etc. And as environmental practitioners striving for more sustainable remediation options, we examine possible alternatives.

Further details and registration HERE

“Future Directions in Soil Science” - Midlands Soil Discussion Group: POSTPONED

Event date: 
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Event venue: 
Rural Science Building, University of Lincoln Research Farm, Riseholme Campus, Riseholme, Lincoln, LN2 2LG, UK
Event description: 

“Future Directions in Soil Science”



Wednesday 29th April  - starts: 10am

A morning tour of Agri-tech (Robots!!!) and agri-environment projects and experiments

Followed by lunch and an afternoon of presentations on current soils research.

Finish 4:15pm

If you would like to give a talk please send a title to Andy Tye atye@bgs.ac.uk

We are especially keen to provide PhD students the opportunity to present their work 


BSSS members – Free

Student NON-Members - £15*   *Proof of student status will be required at time of booking - please see payment page for details.

NON-Members - £20


Sociable Soils: Soil Drinks & Networking Evening (POSTPONED)

Event date: 
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Event venue: 
The Ram, 20 Claverton Buildings, Bath BA2 4LD, United Kingdom
Event description: 

The South West BSSS Group is a group which aims to bring together soil professionals and enthusiasts from around the local area.

The evening is open to anyone interested / involved in soil work and is a perfect opportunity to join fellow professionals and discuss topical subjects, professional development and create networking opportunities.

Come and join us for a pint, some yummy food, and meet other people who work with soils around the area.

This will be an informal event with no speaker or set agenda, just a relaxed opportunity to get to know other members, and exchange ideas and approaches. 

Evening runs 19:00 – 22:00 with a Buffet provided.

There's no charge but it's important that you let us know if you're coming so we have sufficient food!



Last Chance to register for the NSN Event: Soil Resources Evening Seminar on World Soil Day

The BSSS Northern Soils Network invites you to an evening seminar to be held on World Soil Day at Wardell Armstrong Newcastle Office.

Soils are often an underappreciated part of a development, but they are important not only because their intrinsic value but the role they play in the built environment itself.

Soils In Practice - North

Event date: 
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Event venue: 
McGregor Farms, Coldstream Mains, Coldstream, Berwickshire, TD12 4ES, United Kingdom
Event description: 

Farmers Weekly’s Soils In Practice is returning for two one-day conferences.

Soils in Practice brings together experts and industry professionals from across the UK agricultural sector, providing a platform to discuss the latest advances in boosting soil fertility and best practice in soil management.

The event aims to help farmers understand some of the practical steps that can be taken to measure and promote healthy soil in a sustainable farm setting.

Experts will present interactive theoretical and practical sessions on topics including: measuring soil components, nutrient management and pest mitigation, cover crops, organic matter utilisation and the likely implications of incoming legislation on soil health.


McGregor Farms is a family farming business managed by Colin and Jill McGregor. Colin was given responsibility for the daily running of the business in 1989. The farmed area was 300ha. The business was first approached in 1999 to contract farm 100ha of nearby neighbouring land. This pattern has continued over the last 20 years to today by recommendations and referrals. The majority of agreements have been operation for over 15 years.

McGregor Farms operate a sustainable apporach to farming and the environment. Rotations are agronomically proven, focussed on building fertility and soil health to maximise yield and reduce risk. Optimum crop production results are achieved within a cost-effective system.

Precision Farming

They were early adopters of precision farming initially with yield mapping in 1996. All farmed land is GPS SOYL sampled which has allowed variable applicatinos of phosphate and potash since 1997. Soil organic matter status is routinely measured every four years. Variable line spreading is completed by their own team. Nitrogen has been variably applied since 2007. Soil conductivity maps have been made which allow variable seed rates to be used with excellent results. All mainline equipment hs some form of GPS equipment installed.

To ensure quality of work and timeliness, a considerable investment has been made in the latest plant and machinery. The five main prime movers are on rubber tracks for low ground pressure (2 tractors and 3 combines). Tillage is based on surface cultivations, strip tillage and rotational ploughing.


Winter wheat, winter barly and oilseed rape are the principal crops grown together with spring barley. Spring “break crops” are vining peas, potatoes in collaboration with Greenvale AP and a small area of spring beans.

For full details and to book your ticket.