David Kinnersley & Tom Beeley
Head of Agribusiness / Graduate Surveyor  -  Fisher German
Natural Capital and Fisher German’s Soil Matrix
Ahead of the Environment Bill, the government launched online guidance and tools in early 2020, badged as Enabling a Natural Capital Approach (ENCA) which, for the first time, brings together a comprehensive set of resources that should enable easier and clearer ways of valuing natural capital. The government had already indicated through the 25 Year Environment Plan that it recognised the inherent value of soil and consequently the importance of soil quality. As a result, Fisher German swiftly identified an opportunity for landowners and farmers to measure and then monitor their soil as a way of both improving productivity and the investment value of their land.
Fisher German has developed an innovative technique of assessing and monitoring soil health & quality. Our Soils Matrix, developed in partnership with agronomy specialist Indigro, allows landowners to gain a scientific analysis of the soil they own and potentially quantify returns on money invested in soil health improvement in an accessible way.
For farmers focused on the lowest cost of production and improving productivity the Soils Matrix offers a way of benchmarking. For anyone interested in soil health, the Soils Matrix provides a current snapshot as well as suggesting techniques that are most likely to improve soil health in the future.
Fisher German and Indigro’s Soils Matrix is driven by a complex computer programme, which calculates weighted scores from the values of a carefully selected set of parameters. These are chosen on the basis that they are essential to monitor the soil’s value, protect the current value for its owner and potentially aim for its improvement.
There are clear benefits of improving organic matter in soil. A 1% increase in a soil’s organic matter:
• raises water-holding capacity by around 224,000 litres per hectare
• provides sufficient food for around 1,000kg earthworm biomass
• lifts soil’s mineral nitrogen by approximately 100kg per hectare