May 23

Scientists edge closer to unlocking cropping soil secrets

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Thursday, May 23, 2013

Scientists across Australia are making inroads into unlocking the biological secrets held within the nation’s cropping soils which could hold the key to higher yielding crops.

Through a pioneering initiative funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), considerable progress is being made in mapping the biological make-up of the nation’s arable soils and exploring their hidden potential to increase cropping profitability and sustainability.

Scientists and researchers involved in the GRDC’s Soil Biology Initiative will come together in Perth, Western Australia, next week (May 27 and 28) to discuss the advances they have achieved and expected future research outcomes.

 Principal research scientist and Soil Biology Initiative co-ordinator, Associate Professor Pauline Mele, says theworkshop in Perth will provide a snapshot of the insights already gained through the world-leading research, development and extension program.

 “The workshop will also be an opportunity to consider the findings to date so we can develop clear and consistent messages that are of relevance and use to grain producers,” Assoc Prof Mele said. “It is important that we take what we now know out to the farming community so growers can gain a better understanding of how soils respond to management practices.”

 Until recent times, little has been known about the composition of the living fraction of soils which support crop production across the nation, according to Assoc Prof Mele.

 “Our living soils are the engine room of grain production systems so it is essential that we have a greater appreciation of what they’re made of and how they function, and we use that knowledge to harness the biological potential of our soils in improving crop yields.”

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