Thursday, 14 December 2023 07:55

Boosting dairy soil health

Written by  Staff Reporters
An A$7 million programme to boost dairy soil health has been launched in Victoria. An A$7 million programme to boost dairy soil health has been launched in Victoria.

The Victorian state government in Australia and its dairy sector have jointly launched a new innovative research programme to improve soil health.

The A$7 million DairySoil project was launched by state Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence last week to coincide with World Soil Day celebrations.

The DairySoil project will introduce cutting-edge farming practices to help reduce industry's use of synthetic fertiliser, and increase productivity and resilience to climate change. It will use state-of-the-art sensors to measure, map, retain and recover the moisture and nutrient levels needed to produce reliable and sustainable soil.

In partnership with Dairy Australia and the Gardiner Foundation DairySoil is spearheading the initiative as part of the A$42.5 million DairyFeedbase 23-28 program. The DairyFeedbase 23-28 project is supporting transformational programs across soils, forages and animal nutrition over the next five years.

From researching soil health and pasture composition changes to measuring and reducing methane emissions, the DairyFeedbase program will aim to increase the profitability and productivity of dairy farms while minimising their impact on the environment.

The projects will also link to other national research underway and make the most of Victoria's world-class facilities at Agriculture Victoria's Ellinbank and Hamilton SmartFarms and the AgriBio Centre for AgriBiosciences in Bundoora.

Dairy Australia managing director David Nation says the DairySoil program is the cornerstone investment in soil research for Dairy Australia and the DairyFeed base program.

"It recognises the important role soil health plays in farm profitably and sustainability. The outcome will help farmers get more from their soil," says Nation.

Spence noted that healthy soil is crucial to growing the sustainability of Victoria's A$2.5 billion dairy industry and this pioneering soil research will boost industry efficiency in improving and maintaining nutritious and healthy soil.

"It's so important we we continue to bring new research to Victorian farmers, helping to improve productivity and the resilience of our thriving agriculture industry."

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