GROUNDWORK:Central Burnett Landcare has received funding for a project to improve soil health.
GROUNDWORK:Central Burnett Landcare has received funding for a project to improve soil health. Contributed

Farms chosen for new study

THE Central Burnett Landcare group, based in Mundubbera, have received funding for a project to improve soil health.

Project Officer Marion Denholm said we were excited to be chosen.

"The funding has come via the Burnett Mary Group for Natural Resource Management, from the Queensland Government's 'Enhanced Extension Co-ordination in the Great Barrier Reef' project.” she said.

The emphasis with this grant is learning new techniques that will improve the structure and stability of farming country and thereby lessen the chances of soil and nutrients running out to sea.

We have selected two properties, one beef cattle grazing and the other a pecan nut orchard, that will be changing from standard agricultural practices to doing things aimed at developing and managing soil fertility."

The project has begun by soil samples being taken on both properties, to determine the current soil structure and nutrient levels.

Ms Denholm said our partners in this project, the Burnett Catchment Care Association, are taking representative soil samples across each property.

"These will be sent off to an independent laboratory for analysis, so we know the fertility of the soil at the beginning of the project,” she said.

"This will be repeated at the finish of the project, next May.

"It's probably too short a time to see big changes, but should still be interesting."

Each property has been assigned an expert to advise and assist the owners to make a written plan for the life of the project.

"In conjunction with the landowners, we have chosen Tim O'Dea from AgPlus Consultancy and Damien Moloney,” Ms Denholm said.

"Tim is an agronomist based in Bundaberg who covers the whole of the northern Burnett region.

"He advises macadamia nut and citrus orchard owners on their cultural practices and has been working with the pecan nut orchard for some time already and knows their situation well."

The pecan nut orchard is situated on the Boyne River, which is currently not flowing.

Property owner Michelle Chicken said we have very limited irrigation water, so need to make the most of it. "Tim has advised us to use lots of fermented compost around our trees, which will help to keep moisture in the soil & provides good soil bugs that will break the compost down into usable nutrients for our trees," she said.

Damien Moloney is currently managing Narayen Station in the Mundubbera area and is passionate about regenerative agriculture.

"This means managing and developing soils and pastures, not simply using up the existing fertility," he said.

Ms Denholm said owners of the grazing block, Andrew and Ruth Vicary, will be working with Damien to write a plan for the project.

Mr Vicary said the land currently has bare patches of soil, with minor erosion in some places.

"We are very interested to hear Damien's recommendations," he said.


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