Collaboration is the key for nine new projects announced by the Soil CRC in Major Investment Round One.
The collaboration from these projects brings together 30 Soil CRC participants, leveraging the knowledge and expertise from universities, farmer groups and industry to produce research that will contribute to improving the productivity of Australian agriculture.
From Program 1, Understanding and promoting good soil stewardship will explore what incentives there are (financial or otherwise) for farmers to manage their soil well. How is good soil stewardship promoted to consumers and how can that be increased in order to reward farmers with a higher price for their produce when they are engaging in good soil management practices.
From Program 2 there are two new projects. ‘Smart’ soil sensors will develop soil sensors, including a smart shovel, below ground sensor data transmission and self-learning moisture sensors. Visualising Australasia’s Soils is about harnessing the available soil data and ensuring it is more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).
From Program 3 there are three new projects. Recovering nutrients from organic waste streams will develop and optimise technologies to recover essential nutrients from organic waste streams such as poultry manure, pig manure, dairy farm wastes, sewage and industrial effluents. The second project Improving pesticide delivery efficiency will explore the use of nano-porous carrier materials to improve pesticide delivery efficiency aimed at keeping pesticide residue to a minimum. The third project Evaluating alternative rhizobial carriers will be looking at finding alternatives to the non-renewable resource of peat for delivering efficient rhizobial innoculants.
From Program 4 there are three new projects. The first project Plant based solutions to improve soil performance will explore plant based solutions to improve soil performance through rhizosphere modification. This project will identify crop rotations that enable profitable integration of a range of species into farming systems. The second project – Improved management of herbicide residues in soil will develop knowledge and tools to better manage herbicide residues in soil. Herbicide residue is a soil constraint that is yet to be accurately measured and determined. The third project for Program 4, Improving decision support systems is assessing the different Decision Support Systems available to farmers and improving them by adding additional soil constraint modules.
These nine projects will be running over the next two to four years.