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Soil Enhancement and Protection

 

It takes nature hundreds of years to form good farming soil. We must ensure this great resource is not lost through erosion or bad management. At our farm we do several things to look after our soil:

 Avoid erosion

Erosion occurs when wind and surface water remove soil particles from the farm and take them away to other places. To minimize erosion we plan the layout of our paddocks so they always follow the natural land fall. We allow some soil inclination so there is just enough water movement over the soil, but not enough to cause erosion. We have also planted many trees that reduce the speed of the wind over the crops and soil. We never leave the ground unprotected for a long time. If we have a paddock resting from cropping, we always sow a grass cover crop to ensure the soil is properly protected.

Prevent water logging and salinity

Without good drainage, soil can become water logged and unable to support crops. Also, a poorly drained soil is more likely to be affected by salinity. We have installed a very efficient drainage system to remove all excess water from the soil. The drainage system is made of specially designed pipes that are located under the cropping areas. If we would put all those pipes in one line, that line would be over 150Km long.

Improve and maintain fertility

To produce good quality and healthy crops we must feed plants carefully. Regular soil tests help us fine-tune our nutrient management plan. A fertile soil is one that provides plants with all the nutrients needed. To improve and maintain the fertility of our soils we use large amounts of organic fertilizers, some mineral conditioners, and we plant and then incorporate into the soil green manure crops. Other types of fertilizers are kept to a minimum.

Increase biological activity

A healthy soil is home to innumerable small insects, worms, bacteria and fungi. All these creatures play a role in releasing the nutrients needed by plants. We are always looking for better ways to increase the biological activity of the soil to help our crops receive the nutrients they need naturally.

Minimum tillage

Excessive tillage has a negative impact on the soil. It disturbs the soil ecosystem by destroying its structure and increasing compaction. Our minimum tillage prac- tices not only create a good environment for micro-organisms in the soil, but also help us reduce greenhouse emissions by using less fuel in the farm.

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