A healthy crop needs healthy soil, and with an extensive range of research and development already undertaken into soil health practices, the vegetable industry has turned its sights on translating research results into on-farm benefits.
The industry-funded Soil Wealth project, commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia, is working to communicate the results of existing research and development to ensure that Australian growers can take advantage of the benefits these practices can deliver.
“Healthy soil is the lifeblood of a vegetable farm, and nutrient-rich soil can provide direct economic benefits to growers,” said AUSVEG Environment Coordinator Andrew Shaw.
“Crops growing in strong, healthy soil are more resilient and better able to handle wet and dry stress, meaning less crop damage and fewer losses in the long run. This obviously gives growers a huge productivity boost.”
“Healthy soil can also require less labour to prepare between crops, which cuts down on labour and machinery costs and has a direct impact on a farm’s bottom line.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing more than 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.
The Soil Wealth project and its benefits have been profiled in the InfoVeg Radio podcast, a research and development podcast focused specifically at vegetable growers. The podcast interviews Dr Gordon Rogers, project leader for the Soil Wealth project, and gets a grower’s perspective from Rob Hinrichsen, director at Kalfresh, one of Australia’s leading vegetable producers.
The podcast also looks at the environmental benefits of healthy soil and how the EnviroVeg program, the vegetable industry’s own environmental program developed specifically for vegetable growers, can help growers improve their soil health.
“There’s a range of ways that growers can improve their soil health, from reducing tillage through controlled traffic farming to boosting the amount of organic matter in the soil,” said Mr Shaw.
“We encourage growers to listen in to the podcast and look into the Soil Wealth project to learn more about how to get the most out of their soil.”