The final round of the Federal Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program has now been finalised, with $13.8 million funding 32 projects across the nation to improve soil health and soil management.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the Smart Farms Small Grants allows farmers to collaborate on meaningful projects that help build the capacity needed to successfully undertake land management activities to improve soil resilience.

“Good soil management leads to increased agricultural productivity and profitability resulting in reaching agricultural outcomes such as improved biodiversity benefiting communities across rural and regional Australia.” Mr Pasin said.

“This funding round focuses on soil extension activities, which give farmers and land managers practical tools and information they need, including increasing uptake of soil testing and better soil data, which will allow them to make evidence-based decisions for future growing seasons.” Mr Pasin said.

“Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc. received a grant of $453,000 through the Federal Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program.” Mr Pasin said.

“This funding enables the Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc. to compete a project which will build knowledge and capacity in growers to diagnose sandy soil constraints to ensure successful amelioration of sand.” Mr Pasin said.

This project will improve the capacity of farmers in the low rainfall Mallee and Northern Yorke region who manage sandy soils to:

  • Correctly diagnose underlying constraints that limit the productive capacity of sandy soils;
  • Select the most appropriate strategy or combination of strategies to ameliorate the soil constraints present;
  • Map soil constraint data at a paddock scale to better target costly amelioration activities within the paddock.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc. Acting Executive Officer Tanja Morgan said Mallee Sustainable Farming has focused research efforts on improving production on sandy soils for many years.

“In 2016 GRDC invested in sandy soils research which started to uncover the potential of soil amelioration activities on sands to lift production quite significantly which in turn has also helped build crop cover on soils vulnerable to erosion. It’s time to take this research beyond small plot scale and demonstrate to farmers how to map and manage sandy soil constraints at a paddock level.” Ms Morgan said.

“This project will help us to communicate that through demonstration activities, workshops conducted in the field and digital extension products like videos, podcasts and 360 virtual tours so anyone can access the information.” Ms Morgan said.