Call to cover up for soils
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.