Research for Healthier Soils in the Cradle Coast Region

Soil health in the Cradle Coast region is set to improve with six local farming businesses receiving grants of up to $10,000 each to conduct on-farm trials of new soil management techniques.

The program aims to test different ways of managing soil health in real production systems so that ideas can be validated and potentially integrated into the farm's practices.

The studies will be conducted by dairy, pyrethrum, poppy, potato, onion and mixed vegetable produces from Devonport to Wynyard and on King Island with all trials running over two seasons ending in 2013.

Hannah Sadler, Land Coordinator at Cradle Coast NRM, said that the grants helped reduce the farmer's risk of tring something new by providing funding and access to technical specialists and researchers.

"The six participants can confidently explore new ideas and will be in a position to make evidence-based decisions at the end of the trial period," Ms Sadler said.  "Ultimately, the findings can be shared throughout the region and may lead to North West Tasmanian farmers having an edge in best-practice production."

Farmers' Soil Condition grants were awarded to:

  • Compare nitrogen nutrition methods in cultivated annual cropping - Van Diemen Quality Bulbs, Wynyard;
  • Apply Soil Foodweb methodology to cropping - IR & JM Smith, Mooreville;
  • Quantify the benefits of biofumigation for pyrethrum - Botanical Resources Australia, Agricultural Services Pty Ltd, Ulverstone;
  • Extend sustainable farm nutrient management on King Island dairy farms - King Island Natural Resource Management Group Inc, King Island;
  • Monitor the differences in soil condition due to tillage, controlled traffic and compost - Harvest Moon, Forth Farm Produce Pty Ltd, Forth;
  • Link onion quality to soil nutrient levels - Premium Fresh Tasmania, Devonport.

The grants were awarded following a public application process administered by Cradle Coast NRM through funding from the Australian Government's Caring for our Country initiative.

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