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  • Rikki Lambert

Agvocates share the good oil on soils

Monday 5 December is World Soil Day and agriculture departments and advocates are promoting the farming and environmental benefits of good soil management.

The annual event is promoted by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The first budget of Australia's incoming Albanese Labor government committed $20.3 million over 4 years to empower Australian farmers and land managers to participate in carbon markets through carbon farming.

Former agriculture minister - now shadow - David Littleproud said on Monday:

"As the previous Agriculture Minister I was proud to introduce a National Soil Strategy to ensure Australia’s soil resources were recognised and valued.
"The 2021-22 Coalition Budget delivered $196.9 million in new funding over four years to implement the strategy and associated measures."

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture soil scientist Bianca Das gave

Australian householders five top tips for protecting soil:

  1. Reduce erosion by slowing water flow and increasing plant ground cover

  2. Limit soil compaction by not driving, walking, or riding on it while its wet

  3. Decrease your food waste by using up leftovers and buying only what you need

  4. Increase biodiversity by planting different species in your garden, helping to support a wide range of insects and animals that are resilient to extreme change

  5. Volunteer at a local Landcare group that plants native trees and restores ecosystems

Farmers in the South Australian Murraylands and Riverland can now receive free, expert soil advisory services through Soil Extension Officer Barrie Williams, who said on Friday:

"World Soil Day is a great opportunity for landholders to think about how soil management influences enterprise sustainability, and how soils can be improved to make farming systems more resilient."

SA Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven said on 18 November:

"In South Australia, we have some of the world’s highest-quality produce. We’re surrounded by a natural environment with diverse microclimates, clean, rich soils, pristine water sources, abundant sunlight, and green pastures.
"Our wine grapes are grown in clean soil, our seafood comes from clean oceans and our agricultural produce is cultivated in a pristine environment."

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Forests is working with the University of Queensland to improve soil health of winter crops by placing phosphorous and potassium deep in the soil.

On Thursday, the CSIRO revealed how it would spend $15 million to develop a national soil information system. Project lead Peter Wilson said:

"Soil is vital to our agricultural production and natural environments, as well as our health and wellbeing. This information system will help us all care for this important natural resource.
"Productive, healthy and resilient soil means more economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia. Monitoring soil also helps our scientific understanding about how our natural world is changing."


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