Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't blame Science for lagging 5 years behind

While farmers are now joining "microscope clubs" and becoming conversant with soil biology - using it to get amazing results - science is still just starting on the previous generation of land management practices.

A summary of the NSW DPI's program: "Comparisons include high and low input grazing land management; conventional crop rotations versus response cropping or inclusion of pasture phase; and revegetation of grazing land with native tree and shrub species." No mention of biology. And then there's the "novel soil amendment, biochar" - it's capacity to increase soil carbon is being researched when there is no known economic model that works - whereas biological farming is already widespread.

Take a look at the biology-free "Soil Carbon Research" Program Minister Burke kindly funded: unless I am mistaken, no biology.

And the danger of science getting even these imple things wrong (See "Scientists are not always good farmers" - next post)

But we can't blame the scientists. They don't decide which projects will be funded. Ministers do that.

Soil Carbon Research Program

Soil carbon research program overarching project – CSIRO
This project will undertake the technical oversight and management of the Soil Carbon Research Program. It will develop standardised data collection protocols and undertake carbon content analysis.

South eastern SA cereals, sheep and beef systems and Australia wide perennial sheep pastures – CSIRO
This project will identify sites and undertake sampling within south-eastern South Australia’s cereal, sheep and beef systems. Perennial pasture sites will also be identified and sampling will be undertaken throughout the country — particularly in WA and NSW.

South-west Western Australia: Cereal, sheep and beef systems – University of Western Australia & WA Department of Agriculture & Food
This project will engage with a number of grower groups and collect samples from a number of their sites. It will also undertake sampling at sites where management practices have been in place for a minimum of five years.

Victorian dairy, sheep, cereal and beef systems – Victorian Department of Primary Industries and the Co-operative Research Centre for Future Farming
This project will undertake re-sampling of a number of ongoing crop and pasture sites around Hamilton, Rutherglen and Ararat. It will build upon work which has previously occurred under the EverGraze program as well as DPI long-term experimental sites at Horsham, Rutherglen and Walpeup. Engagement with ongoing farmer trials will be undertaken with Southern Farming Systems, the Birchip Cropping Group and the South West Climate Change Forum.

Northern rangelands beef systems – Queensland Departments of Natural Resources & Water and of Primary Industries
This project will undertake sampling at Kidman Springs (NT) to assess the effects of cell grazing. The sites have documented fire and management histories. It will also resample a Toorak grazing trial in north-western Queensland. This sampling will include a range of soil types and rainfalls.

Queensland cereals and sugar - Queensland Departments of Natural Resources & Water and of Primary Industries
This project will undertake sampling of grain cropping systems at the long-term Hermitage Fallow Management Trial near Warwick in Queensland and sugar cropping systems at Tully and Mackay. No-till grain trials will be sampled near Biloela and Goodger and archived soil will be analysed from a number of historic trials (Biloela, Warra, Nindigully, Mt Murchison and Goodger).
Additional sugarcane sites in the Northern Rivers, Mackay and Ingham regions will be sampled – including tilled and permanent beds and across a number of soil types and rainfall levels.

New South Wales cereals, cotton, sheep and beef systems - University of New England, NSW Departments of Primary Industries and of Environment and Climate Change
This project will undertake sampling at 20 long-term trials with 25 corresponding satellite sites on private land to define amounts and variance of carbon contained in pools of soils from the major land-use/soil type combinations in NSW.

New South Wales cereals and beef - Murray Catchment Management Authority
This project will undertake sampling and analysis of paired sites which have been under no-till/conventional till and set stocking/controlled grazing practices.

Tasmanian vegetables and dairy systems - Tasmanian Institute for Agricultural Research, University of Tasmania and Botanical Resources Australia P/L
This project will undertake sampling at a number of broadacre cropping and vegetable sites across the state – including low input pasture/irrigated cropping and short-term perennial/long term pasture. Sampling will also be undertaken on existing sites which have undertaken a change from pasture to cropping and on paired sites which compare irrigated and non-irrigated dairy and beef systems.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Come on people, carbon capture is already here. I find it funny that we already have such an incredible mechanism to sequester carbon long term and it's not getting any media attention. If you are interested please visit http://www.outbackbiochar.com and see what you think.