Building Our Future

Soils for the Future - Part 2

Northern Slopes Landcare Association Incorporated
December 2023

The second of Northern Slopes Landcare's Soils for the Future workshops, "Road to Regen", featured Joel Williams, International soils presenter from Integrated Soils, and Former Farmer of the Year - Grant Sims

The issue

Feedback from the first of our Soil Health workshops indicated that what landholders were looking for was additional detailed information on Soil Biology, as well as more information on how to actually make the changeover to Regenerative farming practices whilst remaining both profitable and productive.

The solution

Joel Williams from Integrated Soils and Grant Sims, former Farmer of the Year, were selected for our next workshops, to be held in Somerton and Pallamallawa, North West NSW. Joel's focus is on increasing the activity of soil microbes to increase soil organic carbon which in turn increases soil microbial activity. Additionally, Joel also demonstrated how to "unlock" the nutrients already existing in healthy soils, increase water and nutrient holding capacity, improve soil structure, protect the plant from disease and sequester carbon.

Grant Sims is a sixth generation farmer, currently farming 10,000 acres in Northern Victoria. Grant made the change to Regenerative farming approximately 10 years ago and hasn't looked back. Production during dry years has increased, Sodic soils have improved, crops are more resilient and the soils far more healthy and productive, with "monster" earthworms confirming the natural health of the soils. Grant's enthusiasm, passion and excitement about what he is learning and achieving on his farm is inspiring. Grant instils in others the confidence to try new things.

The impact

Following on from this series of workshops, three separate Farming groups have been formed across North West NSW. These farming groups will meet regularly to discuss ideas and trials they have been conducting, compare notes on their achievements and challenges, and generally provide each member of the groups with a support network of like minded farmers. These farmer groups will also in time hold their own workshops and continue on with trialling new practices to establish what works best in their particular region.

Key Facts
  • Soil Health = Plant Health, Plant Health = Soil Health
  • Maximise Plant Diversity and Rotations, Minimise Soil disturbance
  • When adding nutrients, always include a carbon source to increase nutrient uptake
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