DAERA are making plans for a free soil-testing scheme to be rolled out across NI, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed.

“We are looking at a five-year scheme, the cost of which will be £37m. We are working up the business case to ensure that we can move ahead with that as quickly as possible,” he said.

Speaking to MLAs at Stormont, Minister Poots said the aim was to start the scheme “either later in this financial year or certainly in the next financial year”.

The initiative is based on pilot schemes which have been rolled out in the Upper Bann, Colebrooke and Strule river catchments. A free-soil sampling scheme was also made available to a limited number of farmers across NI in 2017.