Reduce reliance on inorganic forms of fertilisers and improve soil biology on King Island.
The project focus on impacts of changing management strategies to enhance release of nutrients bound in organic forms.
KI has an intensive beef/dairy production and depends on imported fertilisers (25% more costly than mainland price), increasing costs and soil and water pollution.
KI has a variety of soils, including acid sulphate and salinity problems, making it difficult to know which management strategy is appropriated.
The project will provide a great opportunity for farmers to interact with experts and explore the biological potential of soils, understanding how management and use of on-farm/organic nutrient sources, including home products (e.g. kelp), impacts on biological processes associated with pasture growth and soil health.
Sustainable farm nutrient management on KI Dairy and Beef Farms:
Three projects funded by Landcare Australia, and Cradle Coast NRM.
Dr Bill Cotching, TIAR, tested 6 properties on King Island in October 2010 funded by the federal government program Caring For Our Country.
Nutrient budgets show that some farms are applying a surplus of nutrients while others are applying a deficit, which may require some adjustment. The variability between paddocks highlights the importance of regular soil tests. Economising on soil tests by only doing a small number of paddocks can lead to some paddocks being over fertilised and others under fertilised.
Three projects followed up this original project and included:
A soil fertility and drainage workshop. - Lesley Irvine, Dairy Extension Officer, talked about soil fertility and Dr Bill Cotching talked about drainage. Over 20 farmers participated in the Workshop.
A field day followed the workshop where Dr Bill Cotching gave a small talk about soil tests before sampling one paddock with all the participant farmers. About 30 farmers participated in this field day.
In March 2012 Dr Bill Cotching delivered the final report for the project. Dr Cameron Gourley, Agricultural Scientific Researcher, DPI Vic, presented infomation from "Accounting for Nutrients on Australian Dairy Farms" and Dr Richard Rawnsley, Research Fellow, TIAR, discussed nutrients on farm.
Download the presentation on Drainage and Wet Soil Management by Bill Cotching Waterlogging Management on King Island
Consolidation of KISHAP with expert panel and development of Salinity and Waterlogging Control Manual.
KI Salt Hazard Assessment Project (KISHAP) addressed management actions and hazard assessment of salinity on King Island, included the use of electromagnetic induction mapping and a hydrogeological study, drainage workshops and field days. Deep drilling to consolidate the results of KISHAP in 2006 completed the assessment. More Information...
KI Salinity Management Action Program (KISMAP)- Following the successful Salinity Partnership Project 2001, this project investigated the salinity problem in the north of the island and determine ways to best cope with it. A number of landholders set up piezometers on their properties and monitor once a month. Some trial pasture plantations were established to test salt-tolerant species. A presentation of the sites is displayed at Reekara Community Complex. More Information...
Devolved Grant -included fencing, re-vegetation and direct seeding, and waterway protection, the development of several strategies and the publication of a number of books and reports. A community group worked intensely for over a year on the publication of ‘King Island Flora: a field guide’. A revolving fund was set up to protect valuable ecosystems on the island through buying properties, covenanting and re-selling, this is ongoing run by Tasmanian Land Conservancy.
A workshop was held in March 2012, the culmination of three projects which looked at soil test results and fertiliser management for 10 King Island farms. A range of production types and samples of different catchments on King Island were sampled in the studies. Dr Cameron Gourley, Agricultural Scientific Researcher, DPI Vic, presented infomation from "Accounting for Nutrients on Australian Dairy Farms"; and Dr Richard Rawnsley, Research Fellow, TIAR, discussed nutrients on farm; Dr Bill Cotching, Soil Researcher, TIAR, presented information from the King Island Nutrient Management Project.
Acid sulfate soil (ASS) is the common name given to soils and sediments containing iron sulfides, the most common being pyrite. When exposed to air due to drainage or disturbance, these soils produce sulfuric acid, often releasing toxic quantities of iron, aluminium and heavy metals.
Pyrite (FeS2) found in acid sulfate soils is not visible to the naked eye.
For more information: Tasmanian Acid Sulfate Soil Management Guidelines