This is the first of our bi monthly newsletters designed to update you on project outputs and events relating to our group.
Formed in March 2017, Fleurieu Forward Farming (FFF) consists of a steering committee containing members from the Parawa Agricultural Bureau Group, the Fleurieu Beef group, consultants and farmers not currently part of a group. We are concurrently developing a formal structure and governance and now forming a board and operations committee.
We are seeking expressions of interest from farmers and farm group representatives on the Fleurieu to become members of our board. Board members will have input into the farming issues, research, development and extension for the region. If you are interested, please reply to this email asking form more information on how to become part of the FFF Board.
As a group the FFF aim to benefit the region’s economy, sustainability, profitability and wellbeing by identifying and managing farming system issues and opportunities of a strategic nature on the Fleurieu Peninsula. We attract research funds and resources and develop and manage projects, extension and support that build confidence to adopt new technology and ideas. Part of our extension includes conducting 4- 5 farmer demonstration days per year where we aim to show project outcomes and discuss relevant practice change that may improve local farm productivity and sustainability and wellbeing. We may also invite input into future regionally relevant projects and ideas.
Our next event is on the 15th of May at Willow Creek (near Parawa) from 10:00 am to 3:00pm. We will go through steps on how to improve your soil health and reduce the need for inputs. You can see the results of our 5 case study trials, the biochar trial and soil health trial as well as how to use the soil moisture probes. We will visit the soil health trial site. There will be demonstrations of soil ameliorants and soil testing and soil moisture probes. There will also be a high-profile guest speaker to be announced. A flyer will be sent out to you soon. Please save the date as this day is set to be huge. You can also reply email to express your interest in the event.
If you have received this email you are on our data base. If you would like to unsubscribe please reply email with, please unsubscribe me and we will remove you from the list. If you would like to change update or add someone to the list, you can also reply email with your or their details. We currently cover the Fleurieu region as shown in the map below.
Fleureu Peninsula Map
We currently have funding from the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, via the National Landcare Programme, and also the Alexandrina Council to conduct a range of soil health projects and extension as listed under the projects tab on our web page https://fleurieuforwardfarming.com/ or here
We have conducted a comprehensive review of soil trials, research and demonstration sites in the Fleurieu region, as well several another outside of, but relevant to, the region. The review outlines the main outcomes of each project and gaps and recommendations for future soils research in the region. Click here for a copy of the report – soils research review
We have almost completed our biochar trial at Willow Creek. Varying rates of biochar were drilled 10cm below the soil surface with varying rates of N fertiliser. Acid tolerant Lucerne and Phalaris were sown on top of this in mid-August 2016. This biochar video shows the trial being sown and discusses the trial. Project results will be posted on our web site soon and presented at our field day on the 15th of May. Results to date indicate that a once of Biochar application can keep N and other trace elements in the soil and has meant that in the short term (2-3 years at this stage) only half of the normal N application is needed.
Soil acidity is recognised as a major land degradation issue in the Fleurieu region. Historically, liming has occurred on a paddock by paddock basis and no account has been taken of pH variations across paddocks. pH mapping can determine in – paddock variation and lead to improve liming strategies which are both more cost effective and efficient in the treatment of soil acidity. This new technique was undertaken on 10 paddocks across 5 farms. The pH mapper results across the 10 paddocks and report can be found here
We are conducting a replicated soil health trial, with 4 treatments and a control. The treatments are designed to build soil health which includes microbes, bacteria and fungi, as well as the supply trace elements and minerals back to the plant. Pasture quality and feed test measurements have been taken and soil health tests. All the data will be reported on and outputs and key implication for farming will be demonstrated at our field day on the 15th of May.
We also have 7 case study sites. 4 of the sites have had a history of using alternative fertilisers and 3 have a history of using chemicals. Each of these sites has a control where no chemical or alternative fertilisers were used. The same measurements to the replicated soil health sites will be taken and reported on at our field day on the 15th of May.
At each of our replicated soil health trial and case study sites we have a soil moisture probe and a probe also into the control. There are 5 sensors on each probe down to 5 depths. There are 7 probes in total across the Fleurieu region. The soil moisture probe data including Plant Available Water (PAW), soil moisture and temperature can be viewed here. The PAW data can be used to assist decisions on when is the ultimate time to cut for hay, when to move stock and how grazing and weather events impact on PAW. We are also using the PAW to evaluate a difference in soil health by how much PAW the plant is using. Below is one the PAW graphs at our replicated site. The pink line shows the PAW in the non-treated soil. The green line shows the PAW in the treated soil. This treatment uses a combination of biochar, chicken manure, and trace elements. The pasture type and the grazing methods are identical. More to be shown and discussed on the 15thMay!
If you are interested in supporting local Fleurieu Students learning about Agriculture on Farm click here
Finally, some affordable solutions to improving your connectivity and mobile phone coverage click here