Yarrawonga Chronicle

Discussion group helps farmers

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The Improving Soil to Optimise Water Use On Farm project is funded until 2023 by the Australian Government through the Future Drought Fund Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program – Grants, and aims to address soil quality parameters and how these are linked to storing more rainfall for crop production.

Riverine Plains Project Officer Kate Coffey, explained that soil quality parameters such as pH, CEC and soil organic carbon can affect how much moisture is stored in soils, with healthier soils being more likely to be able to store moisture for later use, such as during a dry spring.

“The first step in improving a soil’s ability to store moisture is understand­ing the constraint­s present in the soil and this can be done using yield and EM38 mapping, followed by soil testing to ground-truth or confirm the presence of the soil limitation,” Ms Coffey said.

“Once a constraint, such as subsoil acidity, has been identified it can then be managed through lime applicatio­n or other methods to improve crop production and profitabil­ity.”

The project aims to increase awareness and knowledge around the identifica­tion of key local constraint­s, such as sub-soil acidity and also involves the demonstrat­ion of innovative methods that protect and manage the soil resource.

To this end, a local trial will be establishe­d to demonstrat­e stubble management as a tool to improve soil moisture retention, with the trial also acting as a focus for the discussion group through local field days and workshops.

“Overall, the project will provide farmers with a better understand­ing of their soils and knowledge of how soil can be managed to improve production and water retention, which will ultimately help improve resilience for future droughts,” Ms Coffey concluded.

For further informatio­n, or to register your interest in becoming a Discussion Group member, please contact Ms Coffey on (03) 5744 1713 or email kate@riverinepl­ains.org. au.

Riverine Plains is pleased to announce it is coordinati­ng a new project which involves the establishm­ent of a new discussion group for farmers in the Murchison district of Victoria.

 ??  ?? Riverine Plains Project Officer, Kate Coffey (left), checks for subsoil acidity in a chickpea paddock.
Riverine Plains Project Officer, Kate Coffey (left), checks for subsoil acidity in a chickpea paddock.
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