S314 Plot 43 at Jabuk. Roots on right are rhizoctonia affected but on the left, they are not. Treatment on right was triple disc sown seeding system with a scoop to remove top soil from the furrow but no fungicide treatment. On the left was treated with fungicide.

SOUTH Australian growers will have access to a huge range of research and farm management information on soils as the South Australian Grain Industry Trust and leading SA farming systems groups form part of a new Co-operative Research Centre (CRC).

The CRC for High Performance Soils (CRC-HPS), which will be based at the University of Newcastle, will bring together 42 institutions across industry, government, research, not for profit and business to help bridge the gap between soil science and farm management.

The CRC-HPS received funding of $39.5 million through the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centre grants announced earlier this month. Cash and in-kind support from the 42 organisations in the consortium is more than $136 million.

Interim chair of the CRC-HPS and SAGIT project manager Malcolm Buckby said it was an exciting initiative which would focus on some of the most complex soil management issues.

“Through the consultation process we’ve undertaken over the past three years, growers kept telling us they want research on how to improve soils via its performance by addressing constraints such as sodicity, non-wetting and hard clay pans,” he said.

“The CRC will combine research including soil science, big data, sensor technology, nanotechnology, environmental science, social sciences and agricultural and farm management. Our research focus will be on identifying and progressing innovative technologies and approaches to translate existing knowledge into practical, on-farm solutions.

“We want to not only develop new research, but ensure the research outcomes are reaching those who most need it: growers.”

SAGIT chair, Michael Treloar, said the Trustees recognise the importance of research into soils. SAGIT has previously funded long-term trials looking at soil-borne diseases such as Rhizoctonia and take-all, as well as shorter-term projects looking at soil carbon and soil water.

“Many of the projects we fund have elements of soil health in them, from nitrogen application to variety trials, and the SAGIT trustees appreciate just how critically important soil health is to a farming enterprise,” Mr Treloar said.

The South Australian organisations in the CRC-HPS consortium are:
  • Primary Industries and Regions SA
  • SA No Till Farmers Association
  • MacKillop Farm Management Group
  • Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation
  • Hart Field-site Group
  • Mallee Sustainable Farming
  • Arris Pty Ltd
The 42 member groups are:
  • Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • South Australian Grain Industry Trust
  • Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association
  • Ecocatalysts
  • South East Water Corporation
  • Facey Group
  • Wimmera Catchment Authority
  • Australian Organics Recycling Association
  • Arris Pty Ltd
  • Landmark Operations
  • Corrigin Farm Improvement Group
  • Central West Farming Systems
  • The Liebe Group
  • Birchip Cropping Group
  • Southern Precision Agriculture Association (SPAA)
  • MacKillop Farm Management Group
  • FarmLink Research
  • Hart Field Site Group
  • Holbrook Landcare Group
  • The Gillamii Centre
  • Herbert Cane Productivity Services
  • Burdekin Productivity Services
  • Riverine Plains
  • The University of Newcastle
  • Charles Sturt University
  • The Trustee for the Soils for Life Trust
  • Southern Cross University
  • University of Tasmania
  • Murdoch University
  • Federation University Australia
  • Primary Industries and Regions South Australia
  • Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation
  • West Midlands Group
  • Mallee Sustainable Farming
  • North Central Catchment Management Authority
  • Southern Farming Systems
  • Department of Industry Skills and Regional Development
  • Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management
  • University of Southern Queensland
  • HLM Asia Group
  • Landcare Research (New Zealand)
  • Kansas State University


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