We LOVE rain, but 2022 …?!
Time to rebuild your soil fertility and soil health
The 2023 farming year is set to bring more challenges to farmers. In addition to the current challenges of high costs of inputs, some sectors have been impacted by reduced yields due to weather or low commodity prices, and soggy soils.
The wet 2022 winter and spring across eastern Australia did not allow farmers to properly prepare for the 2023 season due to heavily saturated soils. Many farmers were therefore forced to change their crop selection strategy, with some having to forego the opportunity to grow high demand crops.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts the continuation of La Niña into early 2023, with above average rainfall for much of the eastern two-thirds of mainland Australia and north-east Tasmania in early summer.
Continuing heavy rains and flooding can cause significant loss of soil nutrients due to leaching, runoff or loss of topsoil, including even those less mobile nutrients* and organic matter. Flooding can also increase levels of salinity.
For sandy loam soils, the situation can be worse due to the ease that water flows through the soil, taking with it soluble nutrients below a crop’s root zone. In contrast, clay soils are better able to retain nutrients, but they are prone to waterlogging. This damages crops by depriving oxygen to feeder roots that consequently die. Furthermore, soils lacking oxygen are more prone to increased pathogens, encouraging root rot and negatively impacting crops.
BioAg can help address the many soil fertility and health issues currently facing farmers across eastern Australia, including nutrient deficiencies and toxicity (salinity/sodicity, and pH related issues), soil structure, and water infiltration (hydraulic conductivity) issues.
Evaluation of soils after heavy rains or flooding starts with an in-field inspection and soil testing. This enables a full evaluation of the needs of the soil and the development of plans to improve soil recovery and fertility. We can provide recommendations for immediate soil needs and utilise these actions into building a long-term soil fertility program.
Just as prescribed medications are not issued without first doing tests, we recommend soil testing post-harvest. Whether it’s for predicting soil constraints/imbalances, monitoring soil trends, diagnosing issues or positive outcomes or compliance – why guess what’s going on with your soil health when you can accurately measure and map? Every member of the BioAg agronomy team is Fertcare Level C accredited and we can assist you with the soil sampling process.
Soil is a living organism and impacted by natural and man-made influences. Given the 2022 extreme wet season, the start of 2023 is the right time to evaluate your soil health and rebuild its nutrient density so that it’s able to best serve your future crops.
* The term ‘nutrient mobility’ refers to macro and micro elements behaviour within the soil and plant. Nutrients which are important for plant growth vary in their ability to move within the soil and plant. It is their mobility that determines their plant availability as well as their loss due to leaching or runoff. Click for more information.