Farmers dig deep at soil pit tour
Date of release: Tuesday February 21, 2012
Almost 50 farmers saw deep below the surface during a soil pit tour in the northern Wimmera last Thursday.
The Hindmarsh Landcare Network, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and the Department of Primary Industries took farmers to five sites on farms at Dimboola, Yanac, Broughton, Telopea Downs and Kaniva.
The event was part of the Sustainable Farm Trials project, a partnership between the CMA, Hindmarsh Landcare Network and DPI funded by Woolworths and the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program.
Guest speakers DPI soil scientists Melissa Cann and Chris Pittock and agronomist Rob Sonnogan helped farmers analyse the 1.5 metre-deep pits.
Organisers also filmed the tour and took soil tests as part of a video presentation for the Wimmera Machinery Field Days on Wednesday March 7.
Hindmarsh Landcare Network member and Kaniva farmer Ross McDonald said the tour had attracted keen interest. He said the farmers were particularly enthusiastic about soil structure and microbes.
“There’s certainly a lot of interest up here in what’s happening below the ground and how it can impact on farming practices and farming success,” Ross said. “The only other time we get to see that deep is when we’re digging a post hole but we’re that focussed on getting the post in that we don’t spend any time looking closely at what’s happening down there. We really appreciated having soil scientists and an agronomist to help us analyse the soil.”
Ross said farmers were interested in a follow-up tour to learn more about soil structure and microbes.
Wimmera CMA sustainable soils program co-ordinator Marissa Land said it was a great day out for all involved.
“In talking to the farmers that were there, a lot of them said they only tested the top 30 centimetres or so of their soil,” Marissa said. “They learnt a lot more about soil profiles by going down to 1.5 metres and the soil scientists explained all the layers and the implications for retaining water, root structures and how these layers impact on crops. They also explained what testing we are doing of the pits and what different results mean in terms of farm productivity.”Marissa said getting out in the paddock was the best way to talk to farmers about managing their soils. She said participants also appreciated getting together with other farmers from their local area.
Northern Wimmera Soil Pit Tour with Melissa Cann & Rob Sonogan - Thursday 16 February
Wimmera CMA is inviting anyone who's interested to join Melissa Cann & Rob Sonogan on a soil pit tour of the Northern Wimmera. The tour will allow farmers to see what’s happening beneath the surface while giving attendees the chance to chat to experts about soil conditions on their farms.
The tour is free, lunch is provided and a bus will be available for the duration of the tour. Attendees are also welcome to drop in at any of the sites shown on the tour map, at the times listed below, using their own transport.
Start | 8:20am – meet at Dimboola Post Office (bus provided)
Site 1: Graeme Eldridge’s farm - Dimboola 8:30am-9:30am
Site 2: Des Smith’s farm - Yanac 10:45am-11:45am
Site 3: Roy Dickinson’s farm - Broughton 1:15pm-2:15pm
Site 4: Glenys and David Tink’s farm - Telopea Downs 2:45pm-3:45pm
Site 5: Ross McDonald’s farm - Kaniva 4:30pm-5:30pm
End | 6:30pm back to DimboolaDownload the invitation Wimmera soil pit tour - February 2012 (888.67 kB).
Download the map Wimmera soil pit tour map - February 2012 (126.95 kB).