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Dedicated Soil Expertise on Hand for Murraylands and Riverland Landholders

News release
30 November 2022
Dedicated Soil Expertise on Hand for Murraylands and Riverland Landholders

Landholders in the Murraylands and Riverland can now access free, expert soil advisory services through a dedicated Soil Extension Officer, as a way to improve soil health and the associated productivity and sustainability outcomes.

Barrie Williams has been appointed by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board to help landholders access and interpret soil tests, and understand the potential of sustainable land management practises as a way to improve soil health.

“World Soil Day is a great opportunity for landholders to think about how soil management influences enterprise sustainability, and how soils can be improved to make farming systems more resilient,” said Mr Williams.

“Small changes to soil and land management strategies can make a difference to the sustainability or productivity of your land,” he added.

In addition to the free soil advisory service, Mr Williams is also able to help landholders identify subsidised soil incentive programs to profile soil health and carbon sequestration.

“There are several soil incentive programs that provide heavily subsidised soil testing, and a much more thorough profile than standard soil tests. A more detailed picture of your soil can help to fine tune management strategies to gain greater advances in yield and quality”.

As well as providing landholders with one-on-one advice, Mr Williams is also developing a number of demonstration sites to showcase land management practises as a way to improve common soil constraints.

“We are currently in the process of developing our demonstration sites which will include the management of acid soils, and the potential of biochar and compost on irrigated maize near Mannum to improve soil water holding capacity”.

A Passion for Regenerative Agriculture

Prior to his appointment with the landscape board, Mr Williams worked as a Senior Viticulturist in Langhorne Creek, and was awarded the title of Viticulturist of the Year in 2019. Holding a Bachelor of Applied Science (Viticulture), Mr Williams is currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Regenerative Agriculture.

“Regenerative agriculture is about returning the soil back to its peak condition, with a diverse microbe community that is healthy, nutrient rich and able to hold water to grow crops”.

“This year’s World Soil Day theme - where food begins – reminds us that healthy soils are important for the production of high quality food, and around 95% of our food comes from soil.”

“Our soils perform a range of important functions including filtering water, removing toxins and helping to purify the air we breathe, in addition to growing the plants that we rely on as a source of food,” added Mr Williams.

“Landholders can get in touch with me if they’re interested in finding out about biochar, farm-scale compost, soil amendments, organic certification, soil health and soil testing.”

For more information, contact Barrie Williams - Soil Extension Officer on 0427 834 396 or barrie.williams@sa.gov.au

This project is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the Smart Farms Small Grants program which is a component of the National Landcare Program.

Dedicated Soil Expertise on Hand for Murraylands and Riverland Landholders