Offering low-down on soil

By Country News

Soil management practices were discussed at a recent soil pit session at Miepoll.

Run by Riverine Plains, the session allowed the 17 farmers who attended to discuss issues they have with — and ways to improve — their soil management.

‘‘These (soil pit) days raise potential issues with soil and things to consider to improve soil structure and construction,’’ Riverine Plains research and extension officer Cassie Schefe said.

‘‘Soil pit days allow a group of local farmers to learn from each other and ask questions that they wouldn’t normally ask; it’s more about hearing about farmers’ experiences rather than hearing from experts.

‘‘Some farmers were interested in deep ripping, which is a way to break up the subsoil, however when simple tests were done on that soil it was found not suitable for that practice.

‘‘Deep ripping wasn’t a practical option in those soils due to the potential breakdown of the micro structure.’’

A portion of the conversation turned to raised beds, which host farmer Andrew Kelly uses in his soils.

‘‘The host farmer Andrew Kelly has raised beds which gives plants reprieve from wet conditions and improves water movement in the paddocks,’’ Dr Schefe said.

‘‘There was a fair bit of chat about how you do it, and what the benefits are, and what things to consider before setting them up.’’

In helping with improving soils, Dr Schefe said recently installed weather stations were assisting farmers to make better decisions.

‘‘The beauty of the weather stations are they provide free access for farmers or anyone.

‘‘We’ve received great feedback about the more detailed weather information.

‘‘The key ones (statistics) are delta T, temperature and rainfall and most importantly soil moisture levels.

‘‘The soil moisture probe attached to the weather station provides farmers with a greater understanding of where roots are extracting water and nutrients from,’’ she said.

‘‘Understanding soil moisture can give a bit more confidence in decision making.’’

The soil pit sessions were funded by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority.

To find weather statistics for Miepoll and other places around the Riverine Plains region, visit: au/home/weather-station-network/