Soil wealth and integrated crop protection – phase 2 (VG16078)
What was it all about?
From 2017 to 2023, the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection program assisted potato and vegetable growers to improve the management of their soil and crop health, to drive their productivity, profitability and sustainability on-farm. All resources developed by the program can be accessed at www.soilwealth.com.au.
The project supported growers to improve their farming operations in areas of soil and crop health, segmented into 12 technical focus areas. This was achieved by providing latest information and innovations and remaining adaptive to current issues. Information was delivered using different extension and communication methods, ensuring outputs were relevant, practical and easy to use.
Phase two of the project delivered: 48 webinars; 19 podcasts; 31 videos; 32 factsheets; 35 case studies; 11 global scans; 4 best practice guides; 6 posters; 9 core demonstration sites; 8 case study sites; 26 field days and farm walks; 25 workshops and seminars; 3 masterclasses; 1 website; 14 social media accounts; 61 e-bulletins; 4 pest, disease and disorder ute guides; 30 Soil Wealth ICP articles; 13 partnership network articles; 1,147 industry articles; 6 industry events and 4 radio interviews.
The project had two key goals, both of which were achieved:
- Target: 25 per cent of vegetable levy paying businesses have adopted, are adopting, trialling or intending to adopt soil and ICP practices which improve farm productivity and profitability sustainably.
- Actual: 75 per cent of participating growers had or were intending to change practice to improve soil health and/or crop protection on their farm, partly because of the project.
- Target: 25 per cent of agronomists and advisors we have engaged with during the term of the project, include a focus on soil and ICP practices which improve farm productivity and profitability sustainably in the work with their clients.
- Actual: 29 per cent of participating advisors had or were intending to incorporate soil health and/or crop protection into advice with their clients, partly because of the project.
The end of project 2022 survey (surveying growers, advisors, and other industry representatives) indicated the majority (83 per cent) of respondents had or were intending to change practice, but this change was more attributable to Soil Wealth ICP – with 49 per cent partly or two per cent definitely because of the project. Furthermore, 74 per cent respondents increased knowledge, either partly (60 per cent) or mainly (14 per cent) because of the Soil Wealth ICP project.
For attendees who completed a survey after Soil Wealth ICP training and events, 57 per cent of respondents indicated they would change farm practices following the event. Also, 76 per cent of respondents indicated they had an improved ability to make more informed decisions about the topic following the event, and provided an average rating of 3.7/5, demonstrating attendees changed their knowledge and confidence on the topic after the event.
Five grower practice change case studies were also prepared to demonstrate the benefits of adoption of improved practices and the subsequent benefits they have observed following their involvement as a demonstration site grower.
Visit www.soilwealth.com.au for all project resources, engagement opportunities and more.