ASM’s LATEST RESEARCH PROJECT
ASM has been working directly with broad-acre farmers in NSW for over six years. This period has been an essential research, development and extension phase for our business, supported by our own resources as well as grants from government programs, including NSW EPA. This research has attracted interest from around the world (see case studies).
Our latest challenge is the regeneration of soils on large cropping farms. A key principal for soil improvement is keeping the ground covered all the time with a diverse range of species. This is doable with perennial pastures but difficult with a monoculture crop that covers only part of the ground for about six months of the year. Stubble retention and no tillage are steps in the right direction, as are applications of lime and gypsum. Careful management of nitrogen is also good. However, I think it is fair to say that these management changes may, at best, only limit further soil degradation.
To take on the cropping challenge, ASM has commenced a new R&D project with five broad-acre cropping farms in NSW. The project runs from July 2018 to January 2021 with a budget of $443,250 (NSW EPA contribution $281,250 & ASM contribution $192,000). We are grateful for the continuing support of NSW EPA with this project.
The project is about measuring the benefits and costs of improving soil quality on the five farms. This includes the completion of a value proposition informed by benefit-cost analysis for compost-based soil improvement. This will be monitored and measured against conventional fertilizer and management regimes across a range of key broad-acre farming enterprises in the Riverina region of NSW.
Updates on this project will be presented here in November each year.