Article by: Hari Yellina
With the recent heavy rains and flooding throughout the eastern seaboard, there’s never been a better moment to evaluate contours, whoa-boys, headlands, and cover cropping strategies to prevent valuable topsoil from vanishing into the neighbor’s paddock. Growcom has teamed up with Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA), a regional natural resource management (NRM) organisation, to host a soil conservation and farm resilience field day for the horticulture industry on June 24 in The Caves, Qld.
Producers of fruits, vegetables, and nuts in Central Queensland are being urged to take time off work to attend. “We’re ecstatic to have the Fitzroy Basin Association’s continuous support in putting on this hands-on, practical soils field day for the horticultural industry, especially with the calibre of speakers.” Darryl Hill, an experienced heavy earthworks operator and erosion expert from the Northern Territory, and John Day, an ex-DPI soil conservation extension worker, are among the guest presenters.
They have more than 60 years of combined field experience repairing and rehabilitating gullies, washouts, and run-down paddocks, as well as technical competence in constructing effective structures to avoid erosion, channelling, and sediment loss. The field day will address topics such as understanding soil structure, type, and qualities, equipment needed to establish contour placement, dozer and back blade construction, and cover crops for increased soil health. Hort360, Growcom’s best management practise (BMP) programme and online platform for horticulture extension, is also on the agenda. Hort30 will be used by participating producers during the day to benchmark run-off management strategies.
“It’s a critical tool for identifying inefficiencies in the paddock as well as in the company,” Ms Haase added. “It provides a snapshot of your company’s current state and serves as a benchmark for long-term sustainability, efficiency, and resilience.” John Targett, Growcom’s resilience officer, will speak during the field day on the supports available to horticulture growers under the Farm Business Resilience Program. The Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the Queensland Government’s Drought and Climate Adaptation Program are both funding this new effort (DCAP).
Mr. Targett is ready to help growers create a Farm Business Resilience Plan in order to qualify for new drought preparedness funding from QRIDA. At 9 a.m., the field day will begin with an indoor component in Capricorn Caves’ Conference Room (30 Olsen’s Caves Road, The Caves). At Wolfies Farm in Rossmoya, a practical field demonstration of using survey equipment and erecting soil conservation structures will take place after lunch. Growcom has arranged for a tour of the Caves before the programme begins as an added bonus. To sign up for the caverns trip (which will last around an hour) contact Growcom’s Hort360 officer Michelle Haase on 0428 586 890.