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CSI participants discuss GHG emissions, tour Mars Petcare

Cool Soil Initiative participants from the Riverine Plains region recently met to discuss their on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and tour the Mars Petcare factory in Wodonga.

Mars Petcare is a founding partner of the Cool Soil Initiative, which has been joined more recently by Kellogg’s, Manildra Group, Allied Pinnacle, Charles Sturt University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre.

The Cool Soil Initiative project supports wheat and maize growers to monitor and manage their greenhouse gas emissions, while also exploring how different farming practices can provide long-term carbon and soil health benefits.

As part of the Initiative, farmers submit crop input and paddock history data, which when combined with soil test data and yield results, allows greenhouse gas emissions to be calculated for each paddock.

Being involved in the Initiative helps farmers pinpoint areas of inefficiency and production constraints within their farming systems, which has the potential to generate significant input cost savings and production gains. It has also helped highlight the factors driving on-farm emissions and the factors that can influence the spectrum of results season-to-season.

Mars Petcare is a significant purchaser of grain from southern NSW and north-eastern Victoria and the day also provided an opportunity for farmers to tour the Mars Petcare manufacturing facility at Wodonga and hear how the company is working to reduce the environmental impacts of the business.

The importance of quantifying on-farm emissions is only likely to increase over time as a result of government and consumer pressure, and Riverine Plains is excited that this project is leading the way in providing a framework for local farmers to start considering their emissions.

Wheat and Maize farmers interested in learning more about monitoring their emissions through the Cool Soil Initiative are invited to contact Riverine Plains’ Project Officer Jane McInnes, by phoning (03) 5744 1713 or emailing jane@riverineplains.org.au

Further information about the Cool Soil Initiative is available at https://riverineplains.org.au/cool-soil-initiative/

The Cool Soil Initiative is funded by Mars Petcare, Kellogg’s, Manildra Group and Allied Pinnacle, in partnership with Charles Sturt University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre, with support from the Sustainable Food Lab.

Cool Soil Initiative farmers meet to discuss emissions, tour Mars Petcare

8 September, 2022

Word Count: 493

 

Cool Soil Initiative farmers meet to discuss emissions, tour Mars Petcare

Cool Soil Initiative participants from the Riverine Plains region recently met to discuss their on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and tour the Mars Petcare factory in Wodonga.

Mars Petcare is a founding partner of the Cool Soil Initiative, which has been joined more recently by Kellogg’s, Manildra Group, Allied Pinnacle, Charles Sturt University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre.

Riverine Plains Senior Project Officer, Jane McInnes, explained that the Cool Soil Initiative project supports wheat and maize growers to monitor and manage their greenhouse gas emissions, while also exploring how different farming practices can provide long-term carbon and soil health benefits.

“As part of the Initiative, farmers submit crop input and paddock history data, which when combined with soil test data and yield results, allows greenhouse gas emissions to be calculated for each paddock,” said Ms McInnes.

“Coming together to discuss these paddock results really helped highlight the factors driving on-farm emissions and the factors that can influence the spectrum of results season-to-season,” she added.

Being involved in the Initiative helps farmers pinpoint areas of inefficiency and production constraints within their farming systems and is one of the Cool Soil Initiative’s major benefits.

“The program can help identify areas for improvement and has the potential to really generate significant input cost savings and production gains,” said Ms McInnes.

Mars Petcare is a significant purchaser of grain from southern NSW and north-eastern Victoria and the day also provided an opportunity for farmers to tour the Mars Petcare manufacturing facility at Wodonga and hear how the company is working to reduce the environmental impacts of the business.

“The group very much enjoyed the tour of the facility and appreciated hearing how grain is sourced and integrated into products,” said Ms McInnes.

Mars Petcare Australia Corporate Affairs Manager, Andrea Bradley, said that Mars’ climate target is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its full value chain by 2050 – it’s an ambitious goal that relies on industry collaborations like the Cool Soil Initiative to drive meaningful change.

“We’re so grateful to the farmers for sharing our vision and coming on the journey with us” she added.

Wheat and Maize farmers interested in learning more about monitoring their emissions through the Cool Soil Initiative are invited to contact Riverine Plains’ Project Officer Jane McInnes, by phoning (03) 5744 1713 or emailing jane@riverineplains.org.au

“The importance of quantifying on-farm emissions is only likely to increase over time as a result of government and consumer pressure, so it’s very exciting that this project is leading the way in providing a framework for local farmers to start considering their emissions,” added Ms McInnes.

Further information about the Cool Soil Initiative is available at https://riverineplains.org.au/cool-soil-initiative/

The Cool Soil Initiative is funded by Mars Petcare, Kellogg’s, Manildra Group and Allied Pinnacle, in partnership with Charles Sturt University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre, with support from the Sustainable Food Lab.

ENDS

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

More information or interview:

Emily Thompson, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713) or email emily@riverineplains.org.au

 

Fodder for the Future Field Walk – 8 September, Youarang

Riverine Plains will host a Fodder for the Future event for fodder producers and buyers on Thursday 8 September from 10.30am – 1.00pm.

The field walk will be held at 2142 Tungamah Main Road, Youarang (lunch included).

The event features;

  • Tour of a paddock-scale fodder variety trial of straight Vetch – Morava and Benetas (side by side) plus an Oats/Vetch (Morava and Benetas) mix
  • Understanding the nutritional value of your fodder presentation/discussion
  • Fungicides and fodder presentation/discussion
  • Discussion on forming direct relationships between fodder producers and fodder buyers (Jane McInnes, Riverine Plains Inc)

To register, click here

For further information, please email Jane McInnes at jane@riverineplains.org.au

 

Fodder for the Future September Field Walk flyer

 

 
The Fodder for the Future project is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, through the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program.

Cool Soil Initiative Participant Meeting – August 30

Cool Soil Initiative project participants will be meeting on Tuesday August 30 to tour the Mars Petcare factory (Wodonga) and hear updated results from the project.

For further information about the Cool Soil Initiative, please contact Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email jane@riverineplains.org.au  

 

Fodder producer’s workshop – 7 July (Now online)

Riverine Plains are hosting an online 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 (please note the event is no longer being held in person at the Tungamah Football Club Rooms and will instead be held via the Zoom Meeting platform – see link below). 

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 

Register in advance for this meeting (after registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting) at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZApdeyupj0pG9HYXD8mlxAUELCsPpkyBqgw

For further information, please email jane@riverineplains.org.au 

 

A pdf copy of the flyer is also available here.

Stubble Management Demonstration Field Walk – Murchison, 7 June

Riverine Plains is hosting a field walk focusing on stubble management and healthy soils at Murchison on Tuesday 7 June, 2022.

The event will run from 9am-1:30pm (lunch included) and features presentations by Dean Leslie, Paul and Mel Brown, Cassandra Schefe, Kate Coffey and Lee Menhenett.

To register, please email Kate Coffey at kate@riverineplains.org.au or Jane McInnes at jane@riverineplains.org.au by Friday 3 June.

To download a pdf (printable) copy of the flyer, please click here.  

 

Virtual Fodder for the Future Field Day – 9 September

Due to COVID restrictions, The Fodder For the Future Paddock Walk is now being delivered virtually.

The Virtual Field Day will provide an opportunity for interested dairy, grain, hay and silage farmers to discuss factors affecting quality fodder crop production, including soil pH.

This Field Day will be delivered using the Zoom meeting platform – to register, please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwufuivqz4tH9R9pcXIG_MX14TQlNvhxplm

For more information, please email Jane McInnes at jane@riverineplains.org.au or contact the Riverine Plains office by phoning 0407 919 842.

To download or print a copy of the flyer, please click here.

The Fodder for the Future project is funded by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, through the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program.

This event is supported by the North East Catchment Management Authority through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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.

Sub-soil Acidity Webinar – Thursday 19 August

Do you have a sub-soil acidity issue?

Riverine Plains will host a Subsoil Acidity Webinar from 7:30pm on Thursday 19 August, 2021,as part of the new GRDC investment Best practice liming to address sub-soil acidity in NE Victoria.

The webinar will be conducted via Zoom. To register please email your name and phone number to jane@riverineplains.org.au by midday (12 noon) Thursday 19 August, 2021 (the meeting link will then be forwarded to you via email).

To download the pdf, please click here

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