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April 2015 – Edition#12

Watching, waiting and testing

Saving money on fertiliser the smart way

What vegetable grower isn’t looking for a way to grow better crops with fewer inputs? The hard part is finding a cost-effective way to do that, which fits into the production system.

King Island is well known for is its dairy products, among other successful industries.

We've teamed up with Botanical Resources Australia (BRA), the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and RM Consulting Group (RMCG) to investigate the merits of soil amendments (pyrethrum marc, biochar and oaten chaff) on experimental fields at TIA’s Forthside Research Station. BRA’s Action on the Ground project has already provided some great information on green beans, onions and broccoli in its first trial, with those crops showing increased vigour and yield with the application of pyrethrum marc. The next crop is lettuce. A crack team of lettuce planters has already hand planted the 7,500 seedlings needed for the trial.

The ongoing success of the dairy industry there relies on the pastures, which, in turn depend on the health of its soils. Dairy NRM Technical Specialist, Rachel Brown knows that dairy farmers can save thousands of dollars a year by efficiently applying fertiliser to actually suit the needs of their soils and paddocks. The other major benefit to only applying fertiliser where and when it is needed is that it protects waterways from excess nutrient leaching. Rachel is working with Cradle Coast NRM to implement the Dairy Australia Fert$mart Program with farmers across the region. Fert$mart is a Dairy Australia initiative to improve the efficiency and profitability of fertiliser use, and to improve soil health on Australian dairy farms. Eleven dairy farms on King Island recently received the benefits of Fert$mart and the program is now rolling out to other areas. If you’re interested in getting soil testing for your dairy business so you can choose how you apply fertilisers, the next round of Fert$mart funding supported by Cradle Coast NRM is now open for up to 30 Cradle Coast farmers. 1

April 2015 – Edition#12

Fert$mart advisers Seona Findlay, Luke Taylor and Dr Bill Cotching will deliver the project and it will be managed by Rachel Brown (Dairy NRM Technical Specialist). For more information, please contact Rachel: 0409 333 381 or rbrown@landly.com.au

investigated the areas with significant seedling mortality. There wasn’t any noticeable wallaby dung or prints there, which pretty much ruled out that as a cause. What we could see was that the stems of the tiny seedlings had been twisted until they snapped off. All that was left was little dried out seedlings on the surface. It turns out the strong dry westerlies had come at the wrong time for the crop,” said Tom. The wind damage caused to carrot seedlings is very visible in this image taken by Tom at Freer Farm:

Ill winds, crops and shelterbelts “The damage to the carrot crops initially looked like wallaby damage as we could see it around the more exposed edges of the paddock,” said Tom O’Malley after visiting the Freer Farm campus of TasTAFE. Tom is the Regional Landcare Facilitator at Cradle Coast NRM and he visited the area with farm manager, Duncan Gee. “Duncan showed me around the contract carrot crop at Freer Farm and we


April 2015 – Edition#12

Events and Activities Remote First Aid Training Cradle Coast NRM is pleased to offer Landcare, Coastcare and other community groups the opportunity for one of your members to undertake FREE training in “Remote First Aid”. The one-day Remote First Aid course is provided by a nationally accredited training provider and will be held at the Cradle Coast Authority office in Burnie on Tuesday 19th of May. Places are strictly limited and will be allocated on a “first in, best dressed” basis. Please email Cradle Coast Regional Landcare Facilitator Tom O’Malley at tomalley@cradlecoast.com to register your group’s interest to secure a spot. Dodder River Restoration Day Join the team at Mt Roland Rivercare Catchment Inc and learn from practitioners about weeds, measuring water quality, benefits of stock exclusion, hydrology, flood mitigation, native species and follow-up maintenance. It's a program supported by Cradle Coast NRM through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.


Profile for Cradle Coast Authority

Across the Paddocks - Edition 12  

Across the Paddocks - Edition 12