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Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

We are looking for a farmer from north-east Victoria to host a trial site as part of this project. If you think you have a subsoil acidity constraint (ideally less than pH 5 in the 5-20cm zone) and would like to be involved in a trial looking at best practice liming and lime quality issues, please email Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes at jane@riverineplains.org.au .

Riverine Plains is pleased to be leading a new GRDC investment, Best practice liming to address sub-soil acidity in NE Victoria, which aims to increase awareness of acidity and pH stratification in local soils, as well as the management tools available to farmers.

While many grain growers are working towards maintaining surface soil pH values above pH 5 through regular soil testing and targeted lime applications, highly acidic layers in the 5-20cm sub-soil can affect production and economic returns, especially when sensitive crops such as pulses are grown.

Because surface-applied lime only moves very slowly down the soil profile, applied lime may only be acting in the surface zone, failing to reach acidic layers further down the profile. Moreover, because soil testing has traditionally been done by bulking surface and subsoil layers together, many farmers may be unaware they have an acid soil layer that is limiting production.

As part of this new project, Riverine Plains will establish a replicated trial to look at how the incorporation of lime can improve the distribution of lime down the soil profile and lessen the impacts of soil acidity on subsequent crops. Some of the techniques which are being considered for the trial include spading, discing, ripping and prickle-chaining.

The lime treatment trial will be established during February 2022 and will compare crop performance of subsequent crops across the different treatments. These results will then be used to inform an economic analysis of the treatment options, while intensive soil sampling will also help to understand differences in nutrient availability, pH and soil organic carbon between treatments.

Lime quality can be quite variable so Riverine Plains will also be establishing a demonstration trial at the same site looking at the quality effect of lime.

For further information about the project, or to learn how to become involved, please contact Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email jane@riverineplains.org.au.

Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

23 August, 2021

Word Count: 499

Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

Acid soils have long been known to be a major constraint to crop and pasture production in north-east Victoria, with the reacidification of previously limed soils and pH stratification becoming increasingly important issues for the region’s grain farmers.

Given the local significance of the issue, Riverine Plains is pleased to be leading a new GRDC investment, Best practice liming to address sub-soil acidity in NE Victoria, which aims to increase awareness of acidity and pH stratification in local soils, as well as the management tools available to farmers.

Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes, explained that acid soils can severely limit production rates and economic returns, especially when growing sensitive crops such as pulses.

“While many grain growers are working towards maintaining surface soil pH values above pH 5 through regular soil testing and targeted lime applications, we are increasingly seeing highly acidic layers in the 5-20cm sub-soil affect production” said Ms McInnes.

“Surface-applied lime only moves very slowly down the soil profile and this can mean that lime may only be acting in the surface zone, failing to reach acidic layers further down the profile” she added.

As part of the project, Riverine Plains will establish a replicated trial to look at how the incorporation of lime can improve the distribution of lime down the soil profile and lessen the impacts of soil acidity on subsequent crops. Some of the techniques which are being considered for the trial include spading, discing, ripping and prickle-chaining.

The lime treatment trial will be established during February 2022 and will compare crop performance of subsequent crops across the different treatments. These results will then be used to inform an economic analysis of the treatment options, while intensive soil sampling will also help to understand differences in nutrient availability, pH and soil organic carbon between treatments.

“Lime quality can be quite variable so we will also be establishing a demonstration trial at the same site looking at the quality effect of lime” explained Ms McInnes.

The demonstration will also include an elemental sulfur treatment to accelerate acidification and give an indication of the future effects if lime was not applied.

Project steering committee member, Rutherglen farmer and GRDC southern panellist, Andrew Russell, said that because soil testing has traditionally been done by bulking surface and subsoil layers together, many farmers may be unaware they have an acid soil layer that is limiting production.

“By raising awareness of this issue, and ways to manage it, we hope to be able to improve the effectiveness of local liming programs in the long-term” he said.

For further information about the project, or to learn how to become involved, please contact Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email jane@riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

….ends………………

More Information or Interview:

Jane McInnes, Project Officer, Riverine Plains on 03 5744 1713.

Fodder for the Future project

Fodder for the Future announcement

29 July, 2021

Word Count: 483

Fodder for the future project to help Murray region farmers

Riverine Plains is pleased to be partnering with Murray Dairy in the delivery of the Fodder for the Future project, which is designed to help local dairy farmers, as well as hay, silage and grain producers, optimise both the quality and yield of a range of fodder species.

The project is a $1.6m investment over three years funded by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, through the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program to assist agricultural communities adapt to a water-limited future.

“With less water available for pasture production in dairy systems, the use of silage and hay has become an increasingly important aspect of dairying across the region” explained Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes.

“There is a science to making good quality hay and silage, and a really important part of the project is helping build the skills and knowledge of dairy, hay and grain farmers to increase both the quality and yield of fodder produced on-farm” said Ms McInnes.

To this end, six demonstration trials have been established across the Murray region of northern Victoria and southern NSW to look at the performance of a range of fodder types, including wheat, barley, oats, triticale and vetch.

“One of these sites has been sown by Riverine Plains at Boorhaman in north-east Victoria, with the trial evaluating an oats/vetch mix sown at two different sowing rates and dates” said Ms McInnes.

“Results from the Boorhaman demonstration, along with results from the other demonstration sites, will provide farmers and service providers with an opportunity to look at the performance of different fodder species under a range of climatic and market conditions” she added.

Establishing long-term relationships between dairy and fodder producers to increase risk management options, the diversification of income and resilience in business management is another key part of the project.

“Dairy businesses and grain and hay producers can all benefit from working together to produce higher yields of good quality fodder in the local region, and we look forward to helping farmers achieve this as the project progresses” added Ms McInnes.

Riverine Plains will host a Field Day as part of the project on 31 August, 2021, COVID permitting. Further details will be available from www.riverineplains.org.au closer to the date.

Murray Dairy Fodder for the Future delivery partners include Riverine Plains, Agriculture Victoria, Birchip Cropping Group, Irrigated Cropping Council, University of Melbourne and Southern Growers.

For further information, or to learn how to become involved, please contact Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email jane@riverineplains.org.au.

This project was funded by the Australian Government under the Murray–Darling Basin Economic Development Program.

Riverine Plains is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer-driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

….ends………………

More Information or Interview: Jane McInnes, Project Officer, Riverine Plains on 03 5744 1713

Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting – 4 January

Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting will be held from 8:30am-12:50pm on Thursday 4 February, 2021, at the Buraja Recreational Ground Hall.

Due to COVID regulations, capacity is limited and RSVP’s are essential. To RSVP, please email Fiona at info@riverineplains.org.au with your name & mobile phone number (places will be allocated on a first-in basis).

The pdf version of the 2021 RPI Buraja flyer can be downloaded here.

Cover/Intercropping Virtual Field Day – 8 September

Riverine Plains is hosting a virtual field day for grain growers looking to learn more about increasing crop diversity in their farming systems on Tuesday 8 September, 2020, from 9:00-9:30am.

Increasing the diversity of crop species can have positive benefits on soil health compared to monocultures, or where break crops are used minimally, with summer cover cropping, green/brown manuring, intercropping or companion cropping all providing opportunities to increase species diversity at different points in the rotation.

To look at this in more detail, a long-term trial site has been established by Riverine Plains Inc at Burramine, Victoria, to examine how more diverse rotations can impact soil function and winter crop yields, as well as profitability.

The virtual field day aims to introduce growers to the benefits of increasing diversity in their systems and  also features a virtual tour of the trial site. Speakers include;

Jane McInnes (Riverine Plains Inc)
Dr Cassandra Schefe (AgriSci): Increasing diversity in cropping systems, site and project overview
Professor Terry Rose (Southern Cross University): Results from 2019
Nathan Lawless (Burramine): Benefits to farmers
Brendan Christy (Agriculture Victoria): Intercropping to exploit rainfall for profit trial (also sown at the
site) 

For more information, please download the Virtual Cover Cropping Field Day (Burramine) Flyer 2020, contact Riverine Plains Inc Project Officer Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email jane@riverineplains.org.au.

To register for this event, please click here.

To download the Riverine Plains Field Day notes on Increasing diversity in cropping systems, please click here.

To download the Agriculture Victoria Field Day notes on the Intercropping to exploit rainfall for profit trial please click here.

This trial is part of the Plant-based solutions to improve soil performance through rhizosphere modification project, supported by the Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils (Soil CRC) and led by Southern Cross University. This project is supported by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s ‘From the Ground Up’ program through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

The Intercropping to exploit rainfall for profit trial is funded by the Victorian Grains Innovation Partnership with  Agriculture Victoria and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Riverine Plains Inc In-season Update – August 8, Mulwala

26 July 2019

Word Count: 504

Riverine Plains Inc In-season Update

Local farming systems group Riverine Plains Inc will host its annual In-season Update at the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort on Thursday 8 August, 2019.

“The In-season Update is an important event on our calendar and provides an opportunity for grain growers to consider the issues likely to affect grain crops this spring” explained Fiona Hart, Riverine Plains Inc Executive Officer.

“With grain growers experiencing very different conditions across the region in terms of moisture availability, the spring rainfall outlook will inform key decisions around pest and disease management as well as crop nutrition” said Fiona.

This all-important spring outlook will be delivered by Agriculture Victoria Seasonal Variability Agronomist, Dale Grey who, in a first for the In-season Update, will speak via videolink.

Riverine Plains Inc Project Officer, Jane McInnes, will also provide a snapshot of current soil moisture availability, using data from the Riverine Plains weather station network, to help understand how much water is currently being held across the region’s soils.

Spring and the run-up to harvest is also a critical time to consider broader farming strategies.

“Weed management is a perennial issue and James Manson from Southern Farming Systems will discuss the long-term economics and impact of harvest weed seed control techniques using results from a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) project involving Riverine Plains Inc” said Fiona.

Nick Ennis from Lawson Grains will also discuss the application of precision agriculture technologies for targeted soil amelioration.

Earlier this year, Riverine Plains Research Coordinator, Dr Cassandra Schefe, was presented with the prestigious GRDC 2019 Southern Region Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award, through which she visited Canada and the United States. Her observations on cover cropping, soil research, regenerative agriculture as well as pulse research and development will provide a global perspective on these topics.

A joint presentation by Dr Cassandra Schefe and Jane McInnes will also provide an update of Riverine Plains Inc current local research program, while Riverine Plains Inc Project Officer Kate Coffey will review the economic results from a GRDC project looking at applying sulphur to canola crops in southern NSW.

The In-season Update will be held at the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort in Golf Club Road Mulwala on Thursday 8 August from 9am to 1pm, with registrations open from 8.30am.

After lunch a Soil Health Workshop will take place from 1.30pm – 3.30pm.  Farmers are invited to discuss the importance of soil health as well as how to improve the local relevance of soil improvement research.

For catering purposes, pre-registrations for the In-Season Update must be received by 5 August 2018. Cost is $25 for Riverine Plains Inc members and $35 for non-members (payable online or on the day) and includes morning tea and lunch. To register, contact Fiona Hart at info@riverineplains.org.au or phone 03 5744 1713.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

….ends………………

More Information or Interview:

Fiona Hart, Executive Officer, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713)

In-season update – Mulwala, 8 August

Riverine Plains Inc will host its annual In-season Update at the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort on Thursday 8 August, 2019 from 9am – 1pm.

This all-important spring rainfall outlook will be delivered by Agriculture Victoria Seasonal Variability Agronomist, Dale Grey who will speak via videolink. Riverine Plains Inc Project Officer, Jane McInnes, will also provide a snapshot of current soil moisture availability, using data from the Riverine Plains weather station network, to help understand how much water is currently being held across the region’s soils.

James Manson from Southern Farming Systems will discuss the long-term economics and impact of harvest weed seed control techniques using results from a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) project (also involving Riverine Plains Inc).

Nick Ennis from Lawson Grains will also discuss the application of precision agriculture technologies for targeted soil amelioration.

Based on experiences from a recent trip to Canada and the US, Riverine Plains Research Coordinator, Dr Cassandra Schefe will also present her observations on cover cropping, soil research, regenerative agriculture as well as pulse research and development.

Dr Cassandra Schefe and Jane McInnes will also provide an update of Riverine Plains Inc current local research program, while Riverine Plains Inc Project Officer Kate Coffey will review the economic results from a GRDC project looking at applying sulphur to canola crops in southern NSW.

For catering purposes, pre-registrations for the In-Season Update must be received by 5 August 2018. Cost is $25 for Riverine Plains Inc members and $35 for non-members (payable online or on the day) and includes morning tea and lunch. To register, contact Fiona Hart at info@riverineplains.org.au or phone 03 5744 1713.

For further information, please download the In-season update 2019 Flyer.

After lunch a Soil Health Workshop will take place from 1.30pm – 3.30pm.  Farmers are invited to discuss the importance of soil health as well as how to improve the local relevance of soil improvement research. Further information is available via the Soil Health Workshop flyer.

Events

Fodder producer’s workshop – 7 July

Riverine Plains are hosting a workshop for fodder producers who are interested in establishing direct fodder supply linkages with local dairy farmers on Thursday 7 July from 8:30-11am at the Tungamah Football Club Rooms.

The workshop is a chance to discuss the potential benefits and barriers of having a direct link with a fodder buyer and to hear from Wayne Thomas about his experiences selling fodder to a dairy farmer, among other markets.

For further information, or to RSVP, please email jane@riverineplains.org.au by Tuesday 5 July.