Soil biology forums to connect farmers with biological farming principles
A series of soil biology forums will connect farmers with practical knowledge to boost production through biological farming practices including pasture cropping and the use of multi-species cover crops.
The four forums will be held from 19-22 September at Carrieton, Clare, the Barossa and Murray Bridge, respectively.
Key note speaker Colin Seis is the New South Wales farmer who co-developed the use of pasture cropping, where winter crops are sown into summer pastures. Now adopted by farmers around the world, pasture cropping has been shown to improve a range of production factors including yield, water holding capacity and soil health.
Mr Seis’ presentation will help attendees to understand how his methods can be used to improve farm profitability, reduce costs and restore farm sustainability.
“This can be done with a variety of methods including pasture cropping, grazing management, and multi-species crops, which when used together in a single farm management practice will restore the farm and soil ecosystems and increase profit,” he said.
Mr Seis said that pasture cropping and similar agriculture techniques are not just limited to higher rainfall zones.
“The use of pasture cropping in conjunction with better grazing methods have been successfully implemented in low rainfall areas in both Western Australia and western New South Wales.
“There are also a number of farmers in the drier areas of Texas in USA who have successfully incorporated pasture cropping into their farming system,” he added.
Also presenting at the forums is Lynette Abbott, an Emeritus Professor from the University of Western Australia and expert in the field of soil organisms in ecology and agriculture. Prof Abbott will talk about the outcomes of her research in soil health, soil restoration, carbon sequestration and the use of biochar in agricultural soils.
Northern and Yorke Landscape Board’s Soil Officer Geoff Kew said this expert knowledge will be supported by local farmers sharing their first-hand experiences.
“Participants will hear from farmers who have tried various agricultural techniques to maintain soil cover, improve nutrient and water holding capacity while maintaining or improving yield. Simple practical steps that can be tried on farm will be shared,” he said.
The Mid North and Barossa forums will be facilitated by Associate Professor Oliver Knox from University of New England, better known for asking people to “soil your undies” in the name of soil health. Invertebrate ecologist Dr Michael Nash will also discuss the role of invertebrates in farming practices.
The Murray Bridge forum with feature Dr Mark Farrell, a principal research scientist with CSIRO who will present on the national effort to monitor soil carbon levels.
Registrations for the soil biology forums are essential but tickets are free.
For more information about the Mid North and Barossa events, please contact Jessie White at Jessie.White@sa.gov.au or 0429 151 138.
Enquiries regarding the Murray Bridge forum can be directed to Barrie Williams at Barrie.Williams@sa.gov.au or 0427 834 396.
The Mid North and Barossa forums are delivered by the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, through funding by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program: Smart Farms Small Grants.
The Murray Bridge forum is funded by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through the landscape levies and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program: Smart Farms Small Grants.