British Sugar TOPSOIL expands analysis to inform and assist customer choice

British Sugar TOPSOIL has long been trusted to provide detailed and current analysis of its soil products to meet and exceed the British Standards for Topsoil and Subsoil. To further inform and assist customers with their choice of products, the company is now having all its soil and topdressing products tested with new, state-of-the-art, soil microbiology technology that is used in agriculture to determine soil health and fertility.

Detailed analysis under a microscope looks at the levels of bacteria and fungi in TOPSOIL’s products. It is anticipated that, carried out at regular intervals over time, this level of analysis will help build a picture of soil health in terms of living organisms and give TOPSOIL customers yet more important information on which to base their purchasing decisions.

Working with Hampshire-based SoilBioLab, samples of each TOPSOIL product were submitted for analysis, together with a local arable soil, to establish and compare the amount of:

  • Active Bacteria
  • Total Bacteria
  • Active Fungi
  • Total Fungi
  • Hyphal Diameter (a physical measure of the branching filamentous structure of a fungus – in lay terms, the wider the branching structure, the more mature the fungus)

National TOPSOIL Manager Andy Spetch said: “We want to provide as much detailed technical information as possible on our products, which is freely available to anyone on our website. It is too early to draw any conclusions from this first analysis but we anticipate that, over time, we will be able to build a helpful picture of the health and effectiveness our products.”

This first set of results, which can be viewed on the TOPSOIL website at  in the TOPSOIL Information section under Analysis, Research and Development, are very much a starting point.