SANTFA Projects: Progress & Review
- Moisture Monitoring
- Farmers Helping Farmers
- GRDC SAN 00013
One of the key goals of the SANTFA website is to provide a platform to display all of the work that SANTFA is involved with.
$4,400 grant for sustainable agriculture research
SANTFA has won a $4,400 grant for research into the benefits of using biochar and compost in dryland cropping systems.
The SANTFA grant is one of 17 totalling $150,000 awarded in the latest round of funding from the Woolworths Fresh Food Future program, run in conjunction with Landcare Australia, to help farming groups develop or implement sustainable farming practices.
Research and Development Manager Greg Butler said the Woolworths grant funds will be used to demonstrate the effects of using a combination of biochar and compost on fertiliser rates and crop water use efficiency.He believes the demonstration trial will encourage members to explore the benefits of new technologies such as biochar and adopt practices that will ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of their farming systems.
“This funding will enable us to establish a field trial on the Eyre Peninsula to demonstrate the synergy of hybrid biochar-compost and help farmers in the region realise the benefits it can have for them,” Mr Butler commented.
Pat McEntee, Woolworths General Manager Fresh Food, believes the Fresh Food Future grants will provide opportunities for farmers to learn more about new technology and practices that are available to help improve the sustainability of their businesses.
“The projects being funded through the Woolworths Fresh Food Future program are fantastic examples of what farming groups across Australia are doing in thesustainable agriculture sector,” he said.
“Investing in the future of Australia’s food production and supply is hugely important to Woolworths. An investment like this enables knowledge to be shared and improvements to be made that will have a lasting effect on agricultural operations.”
More than 175 projects around Australia have received funding from the Woolworths Sustainable Agriculture program since it was established in 2007 as a partnership with Landcare Australia.Projects supported by the program have provided training for growers, supported development of new technology and validated farm management options, Mr McEntee said.
“Specific issues explored include grazing management in beef production, climate adaptation responses in mixed farming, evaluation of new crop and orchard species and low-rainfall pasture cultivars, fertiliser andstubble management, aspects of precision agriculture and carbon mitigation in horticulture and dairying.
“The Fresh Food Future Program is an ongoing investment from Woolworths to fund and promote new projects that improve the sustainability of the food supply chain.”
The 2011 grants are part of a $3.25m commitment by Woolworths to identify risks and trends impacting on the sustainability of the supply chain, increase productivity, provide training and leadership and improve consumer awareness about sustainable food production.
To find out more about the Landcare Australia and Woolworths partnership, please click here’
Soil Moisture Monitoring Projects
SANTFA has won financial support for two new projects, one research and the other extension.
The research involves the use of new sub-surface soil moisture probes to evaluate soil water-holding capacity and infiltration rates in farming systems with and without stubble. The three-year project is being conducted in conjunction with the CSIRO and is partially supported by the GRDC and the Northern & Yorke NRM Board.
The advantage of the new sub-surface probes being used in this trial is that they are completely buried and can be sown over while they are in place. This eliminates the expense and trouble of removing them prior to planting and replacing them afterwards.
Three sites have been chosen for this research: a low-rainfall site at Buckleboo, a medium-rainfall location on central Yorke Peninsula and a high-rainfall site at Wirrabara. All three paddocks are part of long-term no-till and stubble retention systems without stock. Four probes have been placed in each of the paddocks and the stubble will be removed from plots above two of the probes.
Each of the sites also has an automated rain-gauge so rain events can be matched to soil moisture trends and the data is automatically transferred to an internet server via the mobile phone network.
More information on this project will be available to members as soon as we have rebuilt the members only area of this web site.