Soil CRC announces six new projects

| Posted Jun 03,2022

The Soil CRC has announced funding for six new research projects with a cash investment of $3.2 million and a further $6.7 million of in-kind contributions from participants.

This significant boost to soil research, brings the number of active Soil CRC projects to 44 and the total cash investment in projects to over $30 million since it commenced in 2017.

“This research continues the Soil CRC’s commitment to working with farmers to increase the productivity of Australian agriculture through cutting-edge soil research.”

“As we hit the halfway mark of the Soil CRC, we are seeing a shift in our research. These new projects are building on previous research from the CRC. There is a focus on commercialisation of new technologies and adoption frameworks that will ultimately have on-farm impacts,” said CEO Dr Michael Crawford.

New projects

A new tool for assessing the benefits of adopting new farming practices – Dr Nathan Craig, West Midlands Group

This project will create a reporting tool to communicate the risks and benefits of new farming technologies and practices.

Assessing the financial impacts of using organic wastes as fertiliser – Dr Richard Culas, Charles Sturt University

This project will assess the cost effectiveness of using waste products such as manure, dairy farm waste, compost and biochar as an organic fertiliser.

Commercialising the ‘Bilby’ – a below ground wireless sensor node – Dr Marcus Hardie, University of Tasmania

The ‘Bilby’ is a below ground communications node that houses any type of soil sensor. By locating it underground, it is kept safe from damage by stock, machinery or pests. The ‘Bilby’ transmits data (such as soil moisture) through the soil to an above ground gateway located safely in a non-production area such as a laneway or fence line.

Rapid soil tests using ‘lab-on-a-chip’ and an app – Dr Liang Wang, University of Newcastle

Many farmers would conduct more soil testing if they had rapid, cheap and reliable in-field soil tests to support their decision making. This project is developing a device and an app and that will help provide rapid, cheap in-field soil tests.

Evaluation of innovative microbial carrier products – Professor Chengrong Chen, Griffith University

This project involves manufacturing novel carriers for microbial inoculants such as rhizobia and evaluating their efficacy in glasshouse experiments and in field experiments across different soil types, climatic zones and agricultural regions in Australia.

Building soil resilience and carbon through plant diversity – Dr Terry Rose, Southern Cross University

Many farmers want to improve their soil resilience to sustainably increase their productivity. The project will investigate how much organic material from cover crop and intercrop species is stabilised in soil and how it contributes to soil aggregation.

The Soil CRC takes a multi-disciplinary approach to soil research, aiming to increase the profitability of Australia’s agriculture through increasing the productivity of our soils.

The four overarching research programs are looking at the social aspects of adoption of soil practices, soil performance metrics, new products to increase fertility and function and integrated and precision soil management.

The Soil CRC is funded by the Australian Government through the Cooperative Research Centre Program and by its 39 participant organisations, including eight universities, four state agencies, seven industry organisations and twenty farmer groups.