Easier access to latest soils advice
21 July 2022
A new network of soils extension officers across the state is set to give land managers better access to the latest technical information and advice to optimise soil health.
Based in regional landscape boards, the soils officers will boost the capacity to offer practical on-ground help for land managers by helping them to better understand their soils and translate soil test results into on-farm actions to improve soil health.
Limestone Coast Landscape Board General Manager Steve Bourne said that while each of the state’s nine landscape boards has a core focus on their local region, this project is a great example of the ability of the boards to harness their collective power for the benefit of the whole state.
“This project shows how landscape boards work together and with others to get things done,” he said.
“By developing the project as a collective we were able to build a strong case to secure $2 million of funding through the Smart Farms Small Grant program, part of the National Landcare Program. Being able to provide this service, pretty much across the state, is a great result and we want to see as many land managers as possible take advantage.”
“Healthy soil means improved productivity and environmental outcomes, which is what landscape boards are all about. A bonus is that the soils officers will be part of a statewide and national community of practice with direct links to the National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Program, part of the National Soil Strategy.”
“There will also be a strong connection with the newly established SA Drought Hub, one of eight across the nation funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund. A soils coordinator role based in the hub will be a conduit between the latest science and the on-ground soils officers who are working directly with land managers,” said Steve.
For the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, John Butler (Project Officer, Sustainable Agriculture), will be the region’s primary contact, and is excited to work with land managers to help them optimise their soil health and resilience.
“This is a great opportunity for farmers to ‘dig deeper’ into what’s happening in their soils and consider their greatest asset (the soil) in a more holistic way. The soils officers will be more interactive than prescriptive, working with farmers towards their specific goals,” he said.
Land managers in the Hills and Fleurieu region interested in improving their soil health can contact John on 8391 7500.
If you reside outside of the Hills and Fleurieu region, find your local landscape board’s contact details at www.landscape.sa.gov.au