Soil wealth and ICP

From Tasmania to the USA – tillage, erosion and weed management innovations

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Photo © Theresa Chapman
The Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) projects work with growers nationally to put soil management and plant health research into practice.

In this edition we hear from experts in the US on strip-tillage, head to our north-west Tasmania and Cowra, NSW demonstration sites for an update, as well as provide cutting edge innovations in weed control technology. Soil Wealth ICP Phase 2 (VG16078) is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

Erosion control machinery — Harvest Moon, TAS case study demonstration site

Vegetable cropping can leave topsoil vulnerable to significant erosion.

The project team has developed an exciting package of resources to explore a unique machine, the ripper mulcher. Invented and built in Tasmania by Bill Cotching to control erosion on sloping ground under cultivation. The ripper mulcher is one of the soil health tools being used by Harvest Moon, an intensive vegetable production business in north-west Tasmania.

You can read the fact sheet and listen to our first podcast in a series on the website to find out more.

Soil moisture the real winner in a hot, dry summer at the Cowra demonstration site, NSW

The Cowra demonstration site in southern NSW is focussed on improving soil health through cover crops and improved tillage.

Wildeye moisture monitors assess the volumetric water content (VWC) in the soil, which is simply the ratio of water volume to soil volume. They are relatively inexpensive and simple to install, and readings are automatically uploaded to the internet. The sandy loam soil in Cowra can hold approximately 40mm available water in 30cm of topsoil.

Wildeyes were installed in both the control area and the ryecorn cover crop areas. A 24mm storm rain event on the night of 11 January 2019 showed a big difference in infiltration rates and soil moisture retention between fallow versus ground cover.

Read the full update to find out more about the soil moisture monitoring results for summer 2019 following a ryecorn cover crop being sown in winter 2018 on the project website.

Strip-tillage for vegetables and potatoes with Steve Peterson (USA) and Ben Pogiolli (webinar recording)

Strip-tillage combines the best of no-till and conventional tillage in the one operation.

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Learn from industry experts on how strip-till will save you fuel and time, increase soil organic matter, reduce erosion and compaction, and how fertilisers can be banded at multiple depths.

Steve Peterson is a fourth generation farmer and manufacturer of innovative strip-till equipment in Illinois, USA. One of Steve’s fundamental goals has been to reduce the number of passes through the paddock using equipment that is adjustable for a wide variety of crops, conditions, and farming methods.

Ben Pogiolli is an experienced strip-till farmer from the Atherton Tablelands, QLD. Ben is passionate about tillage solutions and all the benefits of strip-tillage.

Together, Steve and Ben combine decades of experience to discuss equipment innovations for vegetable cropping. You can watch the webinar recording on our website.

Technology for controlling weeds — Global Scan and Review

The Soil Wealth and ICP project is scanning global technologies to bring you some of the most interesting and practical advances in weed management. 

Most new technology for controlling weeds will be a positive step forward for soil health and the environment, and will play an important role in our fight against herbicide resistant weeds.

This global scan and review provides guidance on non-selective fallow paddock weed control, as well as selective In-crop weed control, and delivery technology.

MORE INFORMATION
You can access all the resources in this article, as well as news and events from around the country at soilwealth.com.au. For more information, please contact project leaders Dr Gordon Rogers on (02) 8627 1040 or gordon@ahr.com.au and Dr Anne-Maree Boland on (03) 9882 2670 or anne-areeb@rmcg.com.au.

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