Call to cover up for soils

Tasmanian Country - - CLASSIFIEDS -

PRO­DUC­ERS across the state are urged to cover up be­fore win­ter.

A field day this af­ter­noon at Forth will look at the tac­tics of us­ing cover crops for re­gen­er­a­tion.

Soil First Tas­ma­nia and Cra­dle Coast NRM are hold­ing a field day to­day from 3pm 5pm at Pre­mium Fresh, 199 Forth­side Rd in Forth. It is as­so­ci­ated with the Seed ver­sus Steel trial at Pre­mium Fresh. At­ten­dees are urged to bring two 500g soil sam­ples in plastic containers from their best and worst pad­docks.

Soil First Tas­ma­nia pres­i­dent David Robert­sThom­son said in­vest­ing in cover crops was the most cost-ef­fec­tive way to im­prove soil qual­ity.

“In­vest in your most valu­able as­set and it will have you cov­ered for the years to come,” Mr Roberts-Thom­son said.

“It feels good to look af­ter your prop­erty and have healthy crops dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son.”

He said im­prov­ing soil qual­ity was not al­ways easy to achieve.

“Re­cov­er­ing soil af­ter a wet har­vest is par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult. Farm­ers look to a va­ri­ety of meth­ods to achieve the seed bed they need for their next crop; time, cul­ti­va­tion and cover crops are the tools used.

“Re­cov­er­ing soil with only time and cul­ti­va­tion is se­verely lim­it­ing farm­ers in op­por­tu­ni­ties to make in­vest­ments in their fu­ture pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

Mr Roberts-Thom­son said a liv­ing root in the ground for much of the year was more im­por­tant than had been thought.

“Roots can do much more than the work of a trac­tor pass, they feed com­plex car­bon food to the soil mi­crobes, which along with the phys­i­cal roots will help cre­ate soil struc­ture.”

Mr Roberts-Thom­son urged farm­ers to re­ward their soils and “feed them with a plant.”

“Fal­low pe­ri­ods used to be ‘giv­ing the soil a rest’, this is in­ac­cu­rate. Most soil mi­crobes will go dor­mant or die.”

He said it was best to plant to cap­ture nu­tri­ents and hold them in the top­soil, which can re­duce the need for fer­tilis­ers.

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