Soil CRC funds eight new projects

Grain Central July 1, 2024

Hanabeth Luke, Southern Cross University, received funding to undertake a project into social benchmarking rural landholders across Australia. Photo: Soil CRC

THE COOPERATIVE Research Centre for High Performance Soils (Soil CRC) is investing a further $4.1 million in new research with another eight projects over the next three years.

These are aimed at increasing growers’ knowledge of soil issues, and investigating new options to improve soil conditions.

Soil CRC chief executive officer Michael Crawford said these projects build on previous Soil CRC research into soil data and performance metrics, novel products and technology to increase soil function, and farmer engagement and adoption.

“This research reinforces the Soil CRC’s commitment to give farmers the knowledge and tools they need to make decisions on extremely complex soil management issues,” Dr Crawford said.

“Of course, the Soil CRC is a collaborative effort, and our research success depends on the ongoing contributions made by our participants.

“The new projects involve 19 of our 39 participant organisations, who together have committed $8.7M  of in-kind contributions.”

The latest investment brings the total cash spending on projects to more than $40M since the CRC commenced in 2017.

“As the Soil CRC heads into the final three years of our 10-year funding term, our research is delivering tangible outputs for farmers and industry to improve the productivity and profitability of their soil and ensure the long-term sustainability of their businesses.”

Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus received Soil CRC funding to improve farmers’ access to high quality soil data. Photo: Federation University

Federation University has been awarded $1.2M under the latest funding round to extend two research projects to investigate soil-performance metrics and federating soils data with the aim of improving farming yield and productivity.

Both projects are led by Federation University’s Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) Visualising Australasia’s Soils (VAS), and the review of target values for soil-performance indicators.

Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus is the project leader of the VAS project, which will receive $800,000 over two-and-a-half years and aims to provide Soil CRC participants with access to considerable volumes of reliable quality soil data.

The funding is for the third phase of the project and will be built on research from the past six years.

“The aim is to motivate Australasian soil data custodians to make their data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR), by providing a range of benefits for research, on-farm decision making and policy development,” Prof Dahlhaus said.

Nathan Robinson is the project leader of the Review of target values for soil performance indicators and their interdependencies, which will receive $400,000 over two years.

“The funding will support agriculture industry stakeholders (farmers, advisors, researchers) to participate in the co-designing of approaches to help farmers fulfill the agricultural potential of soils,” Dr Robinson said.

This program extends on previous research with the aim to ensure reliable storage, sharing and analysis and visualisation for all this soil related data.

This means the data can be used for optimising soil for productivity in farming.

Other grant recipients

Alongside Federation University, other projects funded by Soil CRC will be conducted by: Griffith University; University of Southern Queensland; South Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA); Southern Farming Systems; Charles Sturt University, and Southern Cross University.

With co-investment from GRDC, Brian Dzoma from PIRSA will lead research aimed at improving crop phosphorous supply on highly calcareous soils.

This project will build on the legacy of a previous Soil CRC/GRDC study that developed innovative physical and chemical management packages to improve conditions on calcareous soils.

Victorian-based not-for-profit, Southern Farming Systems, received funding to expedite the delivery of Soil CRC innovations to farmers to increase adoption and engagement.

It is envisioned that the project will create a new model for accelerated research translation that will help to maximise the Soil CRC’s impact and provide a legacy framework for future CRCs to follow.

Yunying Fang from Griffith University will manage a project to develop the Soil CRC’s organic-based slow-release urea fertilisers and provide recommendations for usage and placement in farming systems.

Also from Queensland, UniSQ’s Professor Keith Pembleton received funding to create novel decision support tools for growers and their advisors using Soil CRC’s soil constraint and amelioration modelling.

Soil CRC has funded Hanabeth Luke from Southern Cross University to complete the CRC’s social benchmarking of rural landholders program to enable an understanding of how farmer practices, aspirations, and motivations have changed since the commencement of the organisation.

The knowledge gained from this research will help the Soil CRC and farmer groups to better respond to farmers’ needs and will further inform strategic planning into the future.

Building on previous research, Professor Mark Morrison from CSU will further examine and summarise the market mechanisms that capture and distribute financial returns from soil stewardship.

Providing targeted information about the range and magnitude of available incentives is intended to assist decision-making and increase the uptake of soil stewardship practices.

Source: Soil CRC, Federation University



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Grain Central's news headlines emailed to you -