YLAD Future Gen Farming Seminar and Field Day
near Young and Milgandra, NSW is being held March 11-12 2020.
Training in Regenerative Farming and Natural Sequence Farming is being held in Donnybrook, WA from the 13-16 July 2020
Regenerative Landscapes Australia offers a Soil Hydration Practicum at Jacmarall Farm, Tarago from 21 – 23 May 2020
Earth Canvas is about linking writers and readers with regenerative farmers to create a better future. It is an opportunity for writers and readers to experience an ecological cattle farm on the Southwest Slopes of Southern NSW. Be inspired by the Murray Valley landscape and ecosystems working on Bibbaringa by enjoying a weekend of author presentations and a day of specialised workshops with world renowned writers.
Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) were developed through an inclusive process within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP). They aim to be a reference providing general technical and policy recommendations on sustainable soil management (SSM) for a wide range of committed stakeholders.
Regenerate 2020 is a five-day conference featuring two of the world’s leading educators, performing at their peak. Discover how you can regenerate your land resources through a practical and theoretical immersive. This is essential training for food producers seeking a more profitable, productive and regenerative approach. Guaranteed to give you new insights and tools.
eNose – Developing Tools to Monitor Soil Biology
Western Australian not-for-profit organisation, The Ground Files Inc, is currently supporting Rural Aid by donating $10 for every residential soil test conducted.
Soil testing is the only way to fully understand the needs of our gardens. Plant tissue testing also provides information about what is in the food we grow and consume.
Executive Director, Bronnie Kemp said, ‘Hundreds of tonnes of nutrients leach into our river systems each year as a result of the over fertilisation of residential gardens.
Precisely managing soil and plant intake of nutrients minimises leaching, produces strong and resilient growth and reduces the need for herbicides and pesticides.’
Other benefits include saving water and money, by only applying the nutrients that plants require.
It’s a simple process and soil samples can be posted.
Soil testing costs $189 and vouchers are available at www.soils.org.au
Contact Bronnie Kemp 0499 776 626 email@example.com
eNose – Developing Tools to Monitor Soil Biology
As part of the Soil CRC’s research program (soilcrc.com.au), a team at the University of Tasmania is working with Soils for Life and other grower groups to develop a simple and easy to use device which will monitor the activity of soil microbial communities. This device, popularly referred to as an eNose (or electronic nose), can detect many different compounds at the same time. It will measure something similar to an “aroma fingerprint”. In much the same way that a person can detect the many different compounds that make up the smell of “coffee” without identifying particular compounds, the eNose will be developed to recognise different biological communities based on the chemicals they are producing. In the future, it is hoped that growers will be able to use this information to help make decisions on how best to manage their soils to be healthier, more productive and more resilient.
Why is soil biology important?
Soil biological communities are a vital part of the soil ecosystem providing the ecosystem services that allow soil to continue to be productive. When we think about biological communities in the soil, we firstly think about larger organisms such as earthworms that are often easy to see when digging up dirt. Worms, mites and fungi that we can see are also important, but there are many thousands of smaller organisms such as single-celled protozoa and algae in the soil. Smaller again are bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in the soil and on and in plant roots. Together with the physical aggregates that make up soil particles and the nutrients and water, they form a complex soil system.
The physical, chemical and biological components of the soil system are very closely linked. The physical structure and chemical nutrients (including water) influence what lives in soil, and the soil organisms change the structure and the organic and chemical components of the soil. These interactions are important for plant growth because plant roots interact with the physical, chemical and biological components of the soil. People are also important in this system. What we do to soil affects the biological communities which, in turn, affects the soil structure and nutrient availability and therefore plant growth.
This microscopic world is fascinating. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to study not only because it is so small but also because there are so many thousands of different organisms. It is now possible to sequence DNA from soil to see what lives in that particular soil by looking for “signature” or “marker” DNA sequences. Over the last twenty or so years we have discovered that the soil contains a vast and very diverse array of microorganisms, but we still don’t know what many of them do!
Rather than simply looking to see which microorganisms are in the soil, another way of studying them is to measure what they are doing. People have often heard of the “bury your undies” test for microbial activity which requires leaving a sample of cotton buried in the soil for several weeks. Another example is measuring how much carbon dioxide is produced to estimate the total soil respiration or how much the soil is breathing. There are many other gases and volatile compounds produced in the soil that people often instinctively take notice of. The fresh earthy smell that you find when digging into soil is geosmin, a compound produced by a specific group of bacteria. The sharp rotten egg smell that can sometimes be detected in water-logged soils is due to sulfides. Sulfides are produced by another group of bacteria that only grow where there is no oxygen. All the living organisms in the soil are constantly releasing complex compounds into the soil, as part of their normal metabolism, to send signals to other organisms, to help them find nutrients and to attack or defend themselves. Perhaps if we were to measure these compounds, we would get an overall picture of biological activity and how this relates to the overall status of the soil. This would provide us with a faster way of assessing what the soil organisms are doing.
Have your say! Join our workshop near Young, NSW to tell us what’s important to you.
Experts in soil science and technology from the University of Tasmania and the Soil CRC will be joining Bill and Rhonda Daly, leading regenerative farmers from “Milgadara”, to talk about more support for building healthier, more resilient and productive soils.
We’ll be doing a paddock tour and running a workshop to get your input on the design of the “eNose” – a tool to help farmers monitor soil biology.
Book here at eventbrite
NSW Farmers have secured funding from SafeWork NSW to deliver the farm safety pilot program.
The program explores where your business currently sits with its Workplace Health & Safety framework, to reduce risk for all members of the farm.
This program is a free service to all NSW Farming business who employ less than 20 Full time equivalent staff who are both members and non-members of NSW Farmers.
For more information and to express interest in the program take a look at the NSW Farmers web link by clicking here