News and Views

Leading soil health expert to assist SA flood affected growers

Tasmanian soil scientist Dr Doris Blaesing will visit South Australian vegetable farms to explain how growers can restore their soils and manage potential diseases following the recent floods to hit the state.

Dr Blaesing, from RM Consulting Group (RMCG), will speak to growers at two Soil Borne Disease Workshops held through the National Vegetable Extension Network, a program commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) to communicate R&D information to growers through regionally-based extension programs.

The first workshop will be held on Tuesday 18 October 2016 at Mount Barker from 10:00am to 11:30am and the second workshop will be held at Gawler River from 3:00pm to 4:30pm.

“Doris is a champion of soil health and she has invested a significant amount of time visiting farms across Australia and talking to growers about the importance of soil in the productivity and efficiency of crop growth,” said Ausveg SA State Manager Jordan Brooke-Barnett.

“Vegetable growers throughout South Australia, particularly those in the state’s northern growing regions, are recovering from the damaging weather and floods which have caused over $50 million worth of damage.”

“It is a critical time for vegetable growers to put the appropriate procedures in place to restore the health of their soils and maximise the productivity of future crops, as well as negate the threat of potentially damaging diseases developing as a result of the floods and severe weather.”

“Doris is currently leading Soil Wealth, a project which is also funded through Hort Innovation using vegetable levies and funds from the Australian Government. This project provides vegetable growers around Australia with practical information on soil management to help them get the most out of their crops and achieve long-term returns. Her knowledge in this area will be invaluable to our growers during the flood recovery process.”

This initiative follows the announcement that Ausveg SA, the South Australian Produce Market and the Horticulture Coalition of SA have teamed up to establish the SA Growers Flood Appeal to rally support for local horticulture growers affected by the recent floods and wild weather.

The Appeal will fund seedlings and other startup costs for affected growers so they can get back on their feet, with funds administered by registered charity Foodbank. Applications for financial assistance will be assessed by an independent panel of growers and industry members.

“We have received over $60,000 so far for flood affected growers and we are extremely grateful for these donations. We hope that the opportunity to speak to Doris about soil restoration and disease management will help our growers get back on their feet as soon as possible,” said Mr Brooke-Barnett.