kaitlyn kuehn, at the Flora Funga Podcast talks with soil Microbiologist Dr. Elaine Ingham about the soil food web and why it’s important. A world leader in soil research Dr. Ingham has her B.A. in Biology and Chemistry, and her MS in Microbiology and Ph. D. in Microbiology
Podcast covers how Dr. Ingham got into microbiology and her soil research. We cover diversity of species in the soil and what your soil should look like for certain crops. We learn what excudes are and why they are important to the ecosystem. We also learn how we can help the soil food web and how you can be apart of her classes to make a difference.
Landholders Kim and Judy have worked for more than half a century on improving the condition and productive capacity of their property near Goondiwindi, QLD. Their land is rich in biodiversity including a healthy brigalow ecosystem.Following a Cultural Burning workshop run by SQ Landscapes and Victor Steffensen, a nationally recognised Indigenous fire practitioner, Kim and Judy have spent months preparing to put the theory into practice.
They’re partnering with local Indigenous fire practitioners as part of a SQL project to manage the wildfire threat posed by introduced grasses and overgrown native vegetation. Cultural burning is a cost-effective way of protecting this nationally recognised threatened brigalow ecological community, by promoting a natural balance of native species and improving habitat of rare and threatened species including the black-throated finch, koala, and glossy black cockatoo.
Knowledge sharing across different cultures is creating a strong shared vision for the future management of landscapes and biodiversity. This project is supported by Southern Queensland Landscapes, with funding from the National Landcare Program.
Find out more about Southern Queensland Landscapes great work: bit.ly/3ctHwVx
Our soils are bustling with life, home to a quarter of the Earth’s species, from beetles and springtails to worms, spiders, nematodes, and billions of other microorganisms. Healthy soils are vital for combatting climate change, feeding the planet’s population, and preventing flooding and droughts.
These unsung heroes of the soil all form a part of our diverse ecosystem and play a crucial role in keeping soils healthy.
There’s more carbon in our soils than there is in all the world’s plants, forests and the atmosphere combined!
A large proportion of this is bound up in the organic compounds produced by fungi. Studies show that healthy soils on organic farms are able to store (‘sequester’) up to 25% more carbon in the long term. Fungi play an important role here, making them a vital piece of the climate puzzle. Soil erosion is a big concern for both farmers. Half the topsoil on our planet has been lost in the last 150 years, due to erosion, and much of this is due to intensive farming. The dense mesh of mycelium in healthy soils holds them together; its networks wind through plant roots and shoots. Without it, soil would be washed away.
Did you know that healthy soils can filter out pollutants? Fungi have been shown to be amazing cleaners of our soils, filtering out everything from heavy metals to pesticides, and even radioactive waste.
Chris Cameron Director of Production, Rockmin Compost Pty Ltd Toowoomba , Queensland.
To whom it may concern.
My name is Chris Cameron, I currently live in South-East Queensland, and I have been working with Biological Agriculture for over 50 years, working out how best to restore productivity to our ancient and weathered Australian soils. The problem, once understood properly, is not difficult. We lack Organic Matter, many essential minerals have been leached out over the eons, and we lack beneficial soil biology in most areas.
About 20 years ago I managed to make the jump from garden scale compost making up to paddock scale, as well-made compost, and what can be blended with it, will quickly reverse most of our problems. My first major work was done with an old end loader, slow and inefficient, but effective in the end. Output with it was very low.
Over the intervening years I have worked with six different Compost Turners of varying types, American, European, Australian Factory built, Australian “home built”, and am currently using a Queensland designed and built JPH CT360, a tractor pulled, PTO driven machine.
It is quite different in design to any of the Turners I have used previously, in that it does not have a huge counterweight and hydraulics that allow the turning mechanism to stand upright for transport. Initially I felt this may be a problem if I got “bogged” in a new windrow, but after having run through, effectively, 20K tons of material I have had absolutely no problem. Without the huge counterweight the machine is light and easy to manoeuvre, the way it folds in behind the tractor for transport is quick, easy, and effective. As there is not a huge weight of machine ever up in the air, it is also far safer to work around!
With the obvious exception of using a Loader to turn windrows, every Turner I have used in the past has had a habit of throwing heavy bits forward, causing some glass breakages on the towing tractors, and needing special screens to prevent this happening, restricting somewhat the clear view of what is happening behind.
The very different “tyne and paddle” design of the JPH machine greatly reduces this and I run safely with no screen and the tractor back window open to give me the most uninterrupted view of what is happening. This is a great development!
This same drum design and layout, which is so different from the majority of Turners, is extremely efficient in doing the 3 tasks needed of a Turner: complete inversion of the windrow, rapid reduction of particle size, and even incorporation of mineral additives, if these are used. Feedlot manure, my main feedstock, can arrive in huge chunks almost as hard as concrete and these are rapidly reduced to a fine texture.
One of the best features of this machine is its extremely low power requirement! The biggest machine I used in North Queensland a monster spanning over 5M needed over 300hp to drive it, and the tractor struggled. I am pulling this JPH CT360, with a small tractor with about 80 PTO hp and its in-cab readout reports I am using barely 30% of available power for a full-sized windrow! This is exceptional!
On the service and maintenance side, everything that needs regular service is easy to see, and access. This means that maintenance is not ignored because it is too hard to do regularly.
I am delighted with this machine and would have no hesitation in recommending it, or its “brothers”, and plan on using more in the near future.
The tractor we are using, a JD6110R.
Normal windrow size, full width of machine being used, as the material settles.
Turning and watering.
Power usage indicator in tractor cabin.
Minerals ready to incorporate.
Turning in minerals.
Windrow after one incorporation pass.
Thank you, Chris Cameron Production Manager, Rockmin Compost Pty Ltd. Toowoomba, Queensland.
We are excited to learn of a new TAFE course “Manage on farm composting” (AHCORG408 – Release 1)
This TAFE course will show you how to implement and manage an on farm compost system, explain the chemistry and flow of the composting processes and what’s involved with manage a composting site.
Once you have completed TAFE course you will be able to make compost, evaluate it’s quality and implement remedial actions if required. The business side is also covered with modules on implementing workplace health and safety policies, site quarantine and biosecurity protocols.
The candidate must demonstrate knowledge of:
Compost quality standards
Basic principles of composting
Different methods of composting
Characteristics of a range of raw materials
Fundamental characteristics of compost quality
Steps in pre-processing compost materials
Batch documentation techniques
Site and equipment requirements for on farm composting
Key process control stages critical to consistent compost production
Overview of systems and technologies used in compost production, particularly as relevant to farm
Characteristics and categories of a range of compost products.
Relevant environmental, work health and safety legislation and regulations
Record keeping requirements
Site quarantine and biosecurity protocols
Principles, practices and inputs allowable under the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce if applicable
Competency is to be assessed in the workplace and/or a simulated environment that accurately reflects performance in a real workplace setting.
More than 35,000 people will visit farm fantastic expo here at Caboolture and with so many exciting events and almost 900 exhibitors on display it’s easy to see why. We talk to jarn Hanson from JPH Equipment about the turnout at the show. JPH Equipment CT360 & CT270 Windrow Turners are ideal for Dairy farm & Feed lot composting turning Waste into effective and environmentally friendly quality fertilizer.
We asked him how the show was going today and he said “it’s going really well thank you, we have had a great turn out turn out yesterday and it seems to be a good day today. We asked how you finding the crowds he said “Really good they are really exciting about the machine”
I asked what’s the thing that’s got the most interest for the people that are visiting the stand “I think it’s mainly the windrow turner and the Bag and seals is getting quite a lot of interesting too” If you’d like to find out more about the products produced by JPH visit us at www.JPHequipment.com.au or call 0400 897 575
The future of fertilisers and waste recycling – why composting for soil type is so critical for farmers
by Adam Willson, Soil Systems Australia
Current challenges facing dairy producers
Over the last few years there has been a steady movement towards biological dairy farming practices like use of manures, composting and remineralisation. Producers have begun to realise that what we have been told about only needing nitrogen is not the complete picture. The wheels have begun to fall off the cart and of particu- lar concern to most is the decline in soil structure and herd health. Some of the challenges faced by dairy producers include;
Skyrocketing costs of production – both fertilisers and brought in feed
Soils are becoming compacted – increased runoff and less utilisation of rainfall and irrigation water
Pastures are not very palatable to stock – leading to reduced feed utilisation
There is a strong dependance on brought in feeds
Irrigation efficiency is low and expensive with increased electricity prices
Herd health is declining and vet bills keep souring
Researchers, consultants and industry don’t fully understand that all of these issues are related to declining soil health
The following article is not about pointing the finger but getting you the dairy producer to “wake up and smell the coffee”. Composting is one of many ancient farming practices that has been used for around 3000 years. Its role in improving the profitability of your business cannot be underestimated. It is not about throwing out the new and returning to a horse and cart. It is about learning to work with nature and forget about trying to control her.
What to do with your unwanted wastes and local resources
Have you ever considered the value of that waste material around the farm? Most of us ignore these piles until either they get too big or cashflow has forced us to look at alternatives. This is what happened in 2008 following the huge hike in oil and fertiliser prices. Farmers began searching for alternatives, recycling perceived waste and using local resources. It was the beginning of large scale on-farm composting and the germination of common sense.
Some of the local resources that can be utilised for on-farm composting include;
Stockpiled cow manure
Brought in chicken and pig manures
Spoilt silage or hay
Separated effluent solids
Liquid effluents and washdowns
Why produce quality compost?
It’s really a “no brainer” why dairy producers should be getting into composting and recycling of what are perceived waste products. Some of the benefits of producing quality compost include;
The valuable humic and fulvic fractions produced in quality compost increases water use efficiency by up to 50% making your pastures and crops require less water. Humus holds up to 20 times its weight in water and acts like a sponge.
By building this soil humus, the Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) of soils can be increased by up to 70%. The CEC of a soil is a measure of the total amount of nutrients held in the soil. This means that with the addition of quality compost, the soil can hold more nutrients and make these available to plants. As plant stress is primarily driven by nutrient and water availability, points 1 and 2 are essential for financial success.
Major reduction in weeds – weed seed doesn’t live through a composting process
Applied fertilisers and minerals are made more bio-available when applied with quality compost. This results in less leaching of nutrients and improved financial outcomes. Reductions in your fertiliser bill of up to 25-33% is not uncommon.
The soil becomes more friable leading to reductions in fuel by up to 25%. One example was a farmer who increased the speed of rippling his paddock with a Yeomans from 4km/hr to 8km/hr. This was due to the softening of the soil.
There is an observed even production in pasture growth. There are less variations across the paddock on the same soil type.
Increased Metabilisable Energy (ME) of pastures and improved utilisation of home grown feed. This means less brought in feed.
There is little to no environmental or off farm effect in stark contrast to water soluble fertilisers.
The key thing to remember with these benefits is that they don’t happen overnight but rather build upon each application.
The Soil Foodweb Institute (Australia), has assessed and granted the SFI Tick of Approval to the range of compost turners produced by JPH Equipment. The Soil Foodweb Institute (Australia) have found that;
The JPH Equipment CT360 & CT270 Windrow/Compost Turners compost mixing ability to be the best current available, offering increasing dissolved oxygen levels, whilst lowering waste carbon dioxide levels produced by microorganisms in the compost
The JPH Equipment CT360 & CT270 Turners are very effective at distributing water evenly throughout the windrow during the turning process.
The JPH Equipment CT360 & CT270 Turners, treat the windrow material evenly, mixing thoroughly without pulverising
In November 2014 JPH Equipment managing director Jorgen Hansen travelled to the Agromek show in Denmark.
Agromek is Northern Europe’s premier agricultural exposition and was attended by almost 50 thousand visitors all excited to see a record number of exhibitors showing the very latest in agricultural machinery, automation and technological innovation, with over 290 new products alone. This event showcases product from Agriculture & Forestry industry with the huge display of tractors, machinery and field equipment.