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Ongoing project

Soil wealth and integrated crop protection – phase 2 (VG16078)

Key research provider: Applied Horticulture Research

What's it all about?

This investment continues to provide vegetable producers with the latest information in soil and pest related areas, in formats that are readily accessible and easy to use, through www.soilwealth.com.au, workshops, webinars and other resources.

It brings into one investment the industry’s well-respected Soil Wealth initiative – previously run under Soil condition management – extension and capacity building (VG13076) – and the industry’s Integrated Crop Protection initiative, previously facilitated by Extension of integrated crop protection information (VG13078).

The focus is on helping growers deal with future challenges posed by changes in the natural and business/market environment. Helping growers implement the efficient use of appropriate, trialled and tested new technologies as they become available, is also key.

In 2018, the fresh and processing potato industries also began contributing to this initiative, providing potato growers and industry participants access to Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection Program events, resources and advice.

ACT NOW

Visit www.soilwealth.com.au for all project resources, engagement opportunities and more.

Also look out for project updates and learnings to be shared via levy-funded communications channels such as the AUSVEG newsletter, social media, the Vegetables Australia magazine and through the VegNET network.

The project team report progress in the following areas:

  • Planning a Grower Panel for Hort Connections. This panel session will discuss and explore cutting edge practices and technology that are key to improving productivity, profitability, and sustainability. Leading growers will provide first-hand experience and insights from hosting a demonstration site as part of the SWICP project over the past eight years. The panel will demonstrate the positive impact of a levy investment to industry.

  • Addressing the interest in nitrogen and nutrient management in the face of increasing prices with an article in the Bulletin on the topic of ‘Nitrogen fertiliser price and supply a good reason to look at legume cover crops’ and the webinar ‘Nitrogen fertiliser price and supply: management options in difficult conditions’.

  • The NT demo site is operational with one cover crop planted and grazed and soil testing completed. The grower has changed practices to reduced till and mulched biomass to prepare and protect soil for planning. The Fingerweeder has also been delivered to the site with assistance by the SWICP team.

  • An increased use of the SWICP web page with significantly more downloads of resources.

  • Preliminary development of a Phase 3 Soil Wealth ICP project with support from Hort Innovation to co-design SWICP phase 3 with Hort Innovation and industry due for commencement in December 2022.

  • Awarding of the Elders Community Stewardship Award to SWICP team member Carl Larsen at the AUSVEG Vic Awards for Excellence.
Soil biology continues to be the key focus of year 5 of the projectwith the additional focus of integrated pest management. Soil biology is used as a lens to highlight practices in irrigation, disease and pest, nutrition, and physical soil management and how it all links to soil health. This topic is driving the demo site focus and case studies that are planned to capture lessons learnt over the project terms. Soil biology will also be the topic for the masterclass in August.

For IPM, the focus will be to communicate:

  • Foundational principles of IPM practices
  • Soil health and its role in IPM, including protected cropping application
  • Management of chemicals to minimise resistance
IPM will be the focus of a couple of case study sites, one on protective cropping and one on potatoes. IPM in protected cropping will also be the focus of a couple of planned workshops in NSW and SA later in the year.

Details

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable, Potato - Fresh and Potato - Processing Funds