A healthy and prosperous rural and regional Australia depends on a healthy agricultural sector, which in turn depends on healthy soils. Over 25% of the biodiversity on our planet is associated with the soil rhizosphere. Common soil constraints limit the capacity to produce quality crops and pastures. Improved soil management is required to meet the demands of the growing Australian agricultural industry while capturing carbon and meeting emission reduction targets.
The National Soil Strategy envisions Australia’s soil is recognized and valued as a key national asset by all stakeholders, and better understood and sustainably managed, to benefit and secure our environment, economy, food, infrastructure, health, biodiversity, and communities – now and in the future.
Achieving the goals and objectives of the National Soil Strategy in the Riverina demands soil extension support for the producers and land managers. Demand for extension outreach activities previously undertaken by Charles Sturt extension professionals has outstripped the capacity to conduct workshops and webinars.
This project is augmented by two additional Smart Farms Small Grants projects, 1.Dung beetle management on farm DAWE, and 2. Implementation of cover crops for improved drought tolerance and pest management DAWE.
Project name: Smart Farms Small Grants - Building resilient soils in the Riverina Region of NSW (2022 – 2024)
Funding Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment - National Landcare Program: Smart Farms Small Grants program $450,000.
The Building Resilient Soils in the Riverina Region of NSW project is developing an extension outreach program for mixed farming stakeholders, to be delivered by trained and experienced outreach extension and adult educators specializing in soil science and agronomy at the Gulbali Institute.
A series of comprehensive online modules on soil monitoring and management plus those addressing key soil constraints are being developed to support Landcare trainers and community of soil practitioners. The modules are available online through a user-friendly website. The information in modules will be delivered to keen NSW stakeholders and consultants using on-farm face to face workshops, webinars and field demonstrations through existing central NSW Landcare, Farming systems and Gulbali Institute outreach networks.
This will lead to additional capacity and support for Landcare managers, trainers and producers to develop important skill sets in soil sampling, monitoring and assessment while fostering a fundamental understanding of the factors and constraints impacting productive soils, leading to improved soil management skills in the Central West and Southern Slopes regions of NSW.