Monash Compost and Biochar Field Day to Connect Farmers and Gardeners with Soil Health Innovation
Landholders and gardeners in the Riverland are invited to a free soil health workshop on October 19 to find out about the use of compost and biochar as ways to boost soil health.
The event, which is hosted by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, will be held on the property of Monash grape grower Omar Najar and will involve a live demonstration of a biochar kiln and the construction of a composting set up using a wire ring.
Biochar is a stable, carbon rich form of charcoal made by burning organic matter at high temperatures. The resulting char can be incorporated into soils to improve water and nitrogen retention rates, increase soil fertility and boost the soil’s ability to sequester carbon.
The biochar demonstration will include the use of pulled grape vines and attendees will be able to view the whole process from starting up the kiln through to the production of biochar.
Barrie Williams, the landscape board’s Soil Extension Officer, said that the event will showcase the use of both biochar and compost and the ways in which they can be adapted to suit the scale of the user.
“Processes like biochar and compost can be applied in almost all situations - residential gardens, hobby blocks through to commercial scale agricultural operations – it’s just a matter of finding a system that produces the right amount for you”.
“The great thing about composts and biochar is that they turn organic waste into free sources of valuable soil conditioners which help to boost soil health and reduce reliance on fertilisers and pesticides,” he added.
Chris Ellery from the Soil Food Web Institute will be presenting the composting demonstration, which will take attendees through the process of making and using a compost set up through to the application of compost teas and the role of worms.
“We will also be talking about the role composts play in nitrogen cycling and uptake, microbial interactions and optimising the use of composts to achieve best results, with plenty of opportunity for attendees to pose their questions,” said Mr Williams.
The biochar and compost field day will be held on Thursday 19 October from 9:00 am until approximately 1:00 pm, and lunch will be provided. The event is free to attend, but registrations are essential. The event will be held on the property of Omar Najar, and attendees should follow the signs from the corner of Fundak and Whitelaw Roads, Monash.
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.