Soil Health Project- Central

Project Background

Project Name Soil Health Project- Central
Project Owner Sugar Research Australia
Project Partners

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (National Landcare Program), Queensland Government, Farmacist Pty Ltd, Plane Creek Productivity Services Ltd, Sugar Services Proserpine, Central Queensland Soil Health Systems, Wilmar Sugar, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, USQ, UQ

Project Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Project Investors

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (National Landcare Program), Queensland Government, Farmacist Pty Ltd, Plane Creek Productivity Services Ltd, Sugar Services Proserpine, Central Queensland Soil Health Systems, Wilmar Sugar, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, USQ, UQ

Project Summary

This project is an industry partnership of the Central cane growing region of Queensland. Over two years, ten paired sites will be established across the three mill areas of the Central Region to determine the soil health, root health and business impact of transitioning to an Improved Farming System (IFS). Long-term IFS sites, of at least ten years, will be matched with near-by sites using traditional farming practices. Physical, chemical and biological soil parameters will be measured, along with root development testing, to determine variation between the sites within each pair and therefore the long-term impact of implementing IFS practices. This work will assist the industry to determine the best set of soil health indicators for this region.

Importantly, the economic implications of transitioning to IFS will be investigated and communicated. Each paired site will be supported by a local group of growers and service providers who will come together at key points in the project to discuss and debate different approaches to IFS strategies and support one another in investigating options for their own farming business. The project will conduct topic specific field days as determined by these groups.

SRA’s Soil Health Extension Toolkit will be validated in the field throughout the two-year project. Local service providers will be trained in the use of the toolkit and will assist to validate soil measurement parameters for the Central region. These partners will take the toolkit into the field, working alongside growers, to test its success as an easy method for identifying potential soil/production constraints.

This project builds on the success of SRA’s Project “Measuring soil health, setting benchmarks and supporting practice change in the Sugar Industry” (2017/005) in the Burdekin and Herbert. To read more about this project visit the Soil Health Toolbox webpage.

This Central project is being conducted in parallel with a similar project in the Wet Tropics region (Project 2019/904).

Region Central
Project Duration 1 July 2019 – 31 October 2021

Research/Demo Sites

Site 1A - Koumala

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Koumala
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Loam - Clay loam

Site 1B - Koumala

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Koumala
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Loam - Clay loam

Site 2A - Carmilla

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Carmila
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Loamy sand

Site 2B - Carmilla

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Carmila
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Silty loam

Site 3A - Proserpine

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Foxdale
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Loam

Site 3B - Proserpine

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Guthalungra
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Silty Loam

Site 4A - Barrie Lane

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Newlands
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Loam and Silty loam

Site 4B - Barrie Lane

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Newlands
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Silty clay loam

Site 5A - North Eton

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name Newlands
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Sandy loam/loam

Site 5B - North Eton

Site Type Paired Site- 2019/2020
Site Subtype Commercial farm
Location Name North Eton
Site Contact

Phil Ross
Sugar Research Australia
0477 318 897
pross@sugarresearch.com.au

Rob Sluggett
Farmacist Pty Ltd
0459 688 844
RobertS@farmacist.com.au

Site Purpose To measure 52 soil physical, biological, chemical and root system parameters on nearby standard practice versus integrated farming system practice fields in order to determine a strong set of soil health indicators for the Central region.
Soil Type Loam/clay