LEARN HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SOILS

6 DECEMBER 2021

How much do you know about the soil underneath your crops and pastures?

Farmers from Ingham to the Tablelands and Mossman are being encouraged to join the 2022 Digging Deeper Plus program – a hands-on course that is free to landholders and focuses on improving soil health and fertility at each participating property.

Terrain NRM agronomist Sally Fields said farmers from across the industries learnt how to better understand soil tests and received a soil test and soil action plan for their land as part of the program. They would explore soil health and fertility issues, visit farms and learnt from soil health professionals including well-known agroecologist David Hardwick. Sally and regenerative farmer Simon Mattsson will also lead workshops, with guest appearance from farmers who have already “walked the talk” when it comes to soil health.

This is the fourth Digging Deeper Plus program run by natural resource management organisation Terrain NRM in the Wet Tropics region, and so far more than 80 farmers have been part of it. The project is supported by Terrain through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

“Digging Deeper Plus’s focus is on improving soil condition and long-term farm viability across a range of crops and industries in the Wet Tropics and neighbouring regions,’’ Ms Fields said.

“Farmers have told us they’ve gained a better understanding of soil tests and overall confidence in building soil health, and they’ve been applying things they’ve learnt to the farm. They also enjoy meeting a diverse range of farmers and sharing knowledge.”

She said the upcoming six-day program would be a little different in terms of content, with a wider range of topics and facilitators. It would also be run over a shorter timeframe, with the on-farm workshops from February to May.

“By the end of the program, each farming business has a detailed soil action plan, tailored to their land and with clear pathways for progress over the next 12 months,’’ she said.

david hardwick

“Every participant is welcome to bring someone else along with them too, whether that’s a family member, employee, direct neighbour or an industry extension officer.

“The program is a combination of facilitated workshops and support from agronomists to put what you’ve learnt into practice.  Each farmer can submit a question, topic or issue of interest relating to soil and our workshop leaders address that on the property visits.

“Hands-on sessions will include a soil pit day and focuses on cover-cropping, bio-fertilisers, rapid soil health assessments and converting knowledge into action with timings, products and management strategies for building up your soil.

“We know from running Digging Deeper Plus previously that it is a powerful learning opportunity with long-lasting benefits, so we’re excited to be able to run it for more local farmers.”

Apply for the new Digging Deeper Plus program here:

Digging Deeper Plus 2022 – Expressions of Interest

Applications close at 6pm on Monday 13 December. For more information, phone Sally Fields on 0421 710 474.

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