On Thursday 14th June, CWFS held a workshop as part of the GRDC project ‘Soil acidity and pH management’ with presenter David Harbison from DR Agriculture. This workshop was held at CWFS’ newly completed premises at the CWFS Research Innovation Hub (formerly known as the LIRAC site). While acid soils are potentially limiting production within the CWFS region, putting soil science ‘in total’ under the microscope was a key focus of the day. Understanding the wider aspects of soil science allows all producers to put soil acidity into perspective, and to enable better business decisions to be made in a more prioritised and timely manner.
Soil science is a combination of three ‘pools’ with the chemical, physical and biological ‘pools’ of soil science encompassing the whole gambit of soil science. Soil sampling, analysis and interpretation (soil testing) all provide a very good understanding of the soil ‘chemical’ pool. This helps assess where individual soil nutrient levels are relative to the planned crop or pastures’ likely nutritional needs, and assists in decisions based on targeted yield and quality parameters. Some of the information within those results may direct us to look into potential production limiting constraints in either or both of the other soil ‘pools’.
Having a better understanding of the key soil attributes (eg pH, salinity) or nutrients to explore, and what the desired levels of those attributes/nutrients are for the production system, enables the results to become more than just a “page of numbers” . While not asking farmers to become soil scientists, the day was about providing direction on spotting, and highlighting, potentially limiting factors. From here, discussions with advisors, suppliers etc. can be had to determine the economics and likely plant and production responses.
It was great to see everyone so engaged in the day and David answered many questions from the group. If you would like any information from this event, please contact Diana Fear on firstname.lastname@example.org.