Masterclasses in soil health and soil biology for the sugar industry : Final report 2016/025
MetadataShow full item record
A total of 252 sugar growers, productivity services staff and others attended a series of Master Classes in Soil Health/Soil Biology that were held in 2017 and 2018. During those classes they had the opportunity to see some of the microscopic organisms that are found in soil and learn how sugar farming systems could be modified to improve soil biological health. The classes were run by Dr Graham Stirling (Biological Crop Protection), Dr Anthony Young (University of Queensland), Dr Jay Anderson (University of Queensland) and Mr Sebastien Garcia-Cuenca (Sugar Research Australia). However, the highlight of each class was the presentation by one of three growers: Ashley Petersen, Tony Chapman and Simon Mattsson. They explained how they were able to modify their farming system and discussed the soil health and economic benefits they had obtained. Each class concluded with a discussion on how growers could move forward and improve the health of their soils. The process involved identifying the key soil constraints that were limiting productivity; developing an action plan to rectify the problems; modifying the farming system in some way; and then instigating a monitoring program to confirm that benefits had been obtained. Feedback from the participants indicated that the classes were a resounding success. Comments were overwhelmingly positive and compliments such as “excellent course: engaging and interesting”, “the use of microscopes, practical application was great!” and “continue this every year!” were received. Those who attended clearly enjoyed the classes and most indicated that they were willing to accept the challenge of implementing a soil improvement plan.