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Free soil workshops this month

Wimmera farmers have an opportunity to hear from one of Australia’s leading soil scientists about ways to address soil fertility decline at four workshops this month.

Adelaide’s Dr Mark Farrell is a principal research scientist with the CSIRO, who will discuss ways in which farmers can build organic carbon and nitrogen in their soil.

The workshops will explain how soil organic matter is declining in Australian agricultural systems, including dryland grain farms. This has resulted in a significant fall in soil-nutrient stocks, particularly nitrogen.

Agriculture Victoria studies have shown nitrogen is the single biggest factor in limiting yield potential in crops in western Victoria.

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“Rebuilding soil carbon and nitrogen stocks is slow,” Dr Farrell said.

“It depends on increased crop production to drive carbon inputs. This is supported by meeting fertiliser requirements.”

Dr Farrell said rebuilding soil carbon and nitrogen stocks could involve overcoming soil constraints, inclusion of cover crops and legumes in the rotation and nitrogen budgeting over multiple seasons.

The free workshops will be at – 

• Taylors Lake Hall at St Helens Plains, 8.30am, June 16.

• Brim Recreation Reserve, 2pm, June 16.

• Goroke Golf Club, 8.30am, June 17.

• Netherby Hall, 1.30pm, June 17.

Agriculture Victoria and Wimmera Catchment Management Authority are supporting the workshops.

People keen to attend must register for the workshops by either texting or calling Heather Drendel on 0427 868 705.