Building Our Future

Soils for the Future - Part 1

Northern Slopes Landcare Association Incorporated
December 2023

The Soils for the Future Project involved a series of soils workshops encouraging the uptake of soil regenerating farming practices . The first of these workshops was "Healthy Soils, Nutritious Foods Healthy People", with renowned speaker Dr Maarten Stapper.

The issue

According to the Australian Government's Bioregional Assessments, "whilst soils in the Gwydir subregion are generally good, the most limiting sand and soil hazards in the subregion are soil structure and soil carbon decline, waterlogging and wind erosion". Northern Slopes Landcare association wanted to provide landholders with information and advice to both encourage and enable them to change their farming practices in order to improve the health of their soils, increase groundcover and increase soil carbon levels.

The solution

With funding from North West Local Land Services, Northern Slopes Landcare Association conducted two soil health workshops with Dr Maarten Stapper - farming systems Agronomist and former scientist with the CSIRO. The workshops focused on how to reactivate Soil Biology, increase soil carbon and profitably produce more minerally dense foods. According to Dr Stapper, soils can be regenerated by re-activating the soil food web, therefore increasing soil carbon and achieving increased fertility through better availability of soil minerals.

This furthermore results in stronger, more resilient plants, making them more tolerant of Environmental stresses including drought, heat, insects, frost, and waterlogging. Workshop attendees were also encouraged to minimise soil disturbance, maximise green ground cover, promote landscape biodiversity and engage in multi-species cropping.

The impact

Workshop attendees found the workshops very informative and relevant, with many requesting follow up workshops including a follow up on-farm workshop with Dr Stapper. Many attendees also purchased Dr Stapper's instructional DVD's, to enable them to both

continue their revise the learnings of the workshops. Dr Stapper provides the tools to make the change to regenerative farming methods achievable - encouraging landholders to conduct their own trials to see what works for them on their country.

The workshops had the added bonus of putting like minded landholders together and establishing contacts which will offer ongoing support in the changeover period.

Key Facts
  • Regenerate soils by reactivating soil biology which will in turn increase soil carbon
  • Reduce synthetic fertilisers and chemicals
  • Minimise soil disturbance and maximise ground cover
  • Increase biodiversity across the whole farm
Project Partners
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