Burdekin farmers dig into soil health

Agronomist and workshop presenter David Hall.

More than 25 Burdekin farmers gathered in Bowen and Ayr recently to learn more about one of their most valuable assets – soil.

The soil health and soil test interpretation workshops provided farmers with a deeper understanding of how soils function, what factors may be limiting the productivity of their soil, and what steps they can take to ‘breathe life’ into their soils for year round health.

Horticulture and cane farmers and agronomists, learned from one of the best, agronomist David Hall, who has more than 30 years experience in the agricultural industry. The workshops were supported by NQ Dry Tropics, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Farmers were encouraged to take their soil tests to the workshops to discuss results and brainstorm possible solutions to constraints.

Burdekin Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Peter Arthofer said this ensured discussions were highly interactive, and encouraged multiple lines of enquiry.

“Getting the fundamentals right in farming is crucial for optimal productivity,” Mr Arthofer said.

“Understanding soils and their constraints is key. Where crop yield is less than the potential yield, the ‘reasons why’ need to be investigated and understood.

“Soil testing is an important part of a cropping program when considering farm soil health and management.

“They’re used to monitor soil fertility, identify soil conditions which could restrict plant production, or assist in the diagnosis of crop health or productivity problems.

“If farmers know what’s going on in their soil, they can implement appropriate measures to that particular paddock to improve soil health and productivity.

“More farmers are moving to practices that maintain and restore their soils which will in turn, contribute to healthy catchments and sustainable agricultural enterprises.”

Growcom also supported the workshops through promotion and attendance.

NQ Dry Tropics Peter Arthofer, Catherine Cookson, of Vee Jay’s Kalfresh, and Eilis Walker from Growcom.

Agronomist and workshop presenter David Hall (left), and NQ Dry Tropics Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator – Burdekin Dry Tropics Region Peter Arthofer.