Organic matter under the microscope at soil health workshop

January 9, 2020

Organic matter - it matters!  This was the message recently delivered to a group of banana, tropical fruit and sugarcane farmers at a soil health workshop in Tully.

Visiting soil expert David Hardwick from Soil Land Food covered topics including where nitrogen fertiliser goes and how nutrients cycle in the natural environment. 

Tully Basin Coordinator of the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (MIP) Fiona George said “the key message was to look after your organic matter. The soil ecosystem is one of a landholders’ most important assets, because it turns over and stores nutrients.”

Tips on how to improve organic matter in your soil included reducing soil disturbances, maintaining living roots in the soil at all times through fallow crops, and not overdoing the nitrogen fertiliser because it "switches off" the critters that keep things turning over.

The workshop was part of the Wet Tropics MIP, which is funded by the Queensland Government through the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program. The project combines local knowledge and available science to deliver water quality solutions that benefit farmers and the Great Barrier Reef.

Initiatives range from constructed wetlands and bioreactors to installing water sampling equipment and providing water quality data to landholders at shed meetings across the Tully and Innisfail districts.