Building soil resilience and carbon through plant diversity
This project is funded by the CRC for High Performance Soils.
2023 – 2026
This project is led by Southern Cross University.
Project partners include NSW Department of Primary Industries, Central West Farming Systems, Riverine Plains, Birchip Cropping Group and Herbert Cane Productivity Services
Farmers are looking to improve soil resilience to enable sustained or improved productivity in an increasingly variable climate.
This project, led by Southern Cross University, follows on from the Plant-based solutions to improve soil performance project. The project will investigate changes in soil function, soil resilience and carbon stocks under a range of agronomic practices that incorporate plant diversity in cropping systems in the medium term (4-7 years) at an existing long-term field site at Burramine, Victoria. The project will also investigate how much photosynthate (i.e., carbon from rhizo-deposits) from cover crop and intercrop species is stabilised in soil, and its contribution to soil aggregation.
A similar, long-term field site has been established by Central West Farming Systems and at a site established by Birchip Cropping Group. Further, the project will determine appropriate fertiliser reductions in cane crops following mixed species cover crops at Ingham, in conjunction with Herbert Cane Productivity Services.
The project aims to determine the medium-longer term contribution of cover cropping, intercropping and crop rotation to soil resilience and carbon dynamics, and cropping system productivity.
The project will determine the long-term impact of plant diversity on soil carbon dynamic, quantify the stability and role of rhizodeposits (e.g. root exudates) on soil carbon, aggregate formation, and soil microbial communities and optimise intercrop mixes to enhance soil resilience.
Longer term, the project aims to identify agronomic interventions that increase plant diversity in cropping systems that can improve soil resilience and sustain or increase system productivity. The project ultimately aims to increase carbon levels and resilience in Australian cropping soils.
For more information, please contact Riverine Plains Senior Project Officer Jane McInnes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Project title: Building resilient soils and enhancing carbon stocks in cropping systems through plant diversity