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Communities in Transition 

for Queensland Communities

Indigenous Artist - Roel Wijnants | https://flic.kr/p/PYTzL

Lychees - CSIRO - Science Image - 2309

Lichen & street scene - Quest Media

Conservation tillage
 
Conservation tillage includes methods that reduce disruption to the soil such as no‐till and reduced tillage practices and crops sown through the stubble residue of previous crops. 
Quick Links
Alliances 
Research Farms
Strategic tillage 
Zero tillage 
Case studies
Media
Alliances

Conservation Farmers

Conservation Farmers Inc. is a not-for-profit grower member Association established almost 40 years ago. It has approximately 250 active members, 85% of whom are farmers, based in northern NSW and southern Qld. The Associations focus is on improving the future prosperity of its farming and associated membership. It does this by providing an effective link between researchers, machinery manufacturers, input suppliers, agri-businesses and growers. http://www.cfi.org.au/about-us

Victorian No-Till Farmers Association

The Vict No-Till  is a leading voice in south-east Australia for the use of reduced tillage, minimum tillage and direct drill seeding farming systems and and controlled-traffic farming 

Western Australian No-tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA) 

The Western Australian No-tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA) is the largest agronomic grower group in Western Australia. WANTFA supports the adoption of sustainable and profitable broadacre cropping systems by sharing grower experiences and innovative research. It is the only WA group that solely focuses on conservation agriculture (no-tillage and zero-tillage). It support the following principles:Limited soil disturbance, Permanent ground cover, Diverse rotations, and Reduced compaction.

The South Australian No-Till Farmers Association

SANTFA) is a non-profit farmer driven organisation that is led by a committee of volunteers. SANTFA has, over its seventeen years of growth, successfully promoted the benefits of no-till farming systems and conservation farming in general and now has almost 500 financial members across South Australia.

Research farms

The Future Farm 2050 Project,  Farm Ridgefield, University of WA.

 

The Future Farm 2050 Project aims to imagine the best-practice farm of 2050, and build and manage it now. The foundation is agriculture for food production based on a profitable mixed-enterprise farm, at the cutting edge of practical technology. One of its four pillars is No till cropping systems, primarily for the production of wheat and canola (will integrate information on climate, soil, crop biology and pests (insects, diseases, weeds) with economic and management drivers, such as climate change). 

The stubble project: Victoria and Tasmania

 

The stubble project, ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble in Victoria and Tasmania’ is a collaborative initiative being undertaken by four grower groups – Birchip Cropping Group (BCG), Southern Farming Systems (SFS), Irrigated Cropping Council (ICC) and the Victorian No-Till Farming Association (VNTFA) – with funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). The project examines 17 cropping system components that are directly impact, or interact with, crop residue in a stubble retained system.

Strategic tillage 

The strategic use of tillage within conservation farming, 2017, Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Report discussing how minimum tillage may be more sustainable than zero till.

Strategic tillage in conservation agricultural systems of north-eastern Australia: why, where, when and how?, 2017, Yash Pal Dang et al, Environ Sci Pollut Res

Farmers often resort to an occasional strategic tillage (ST)) operation to combat constraints of no-tillage (NT) farming systems. Results showed that introduction of ST reduced weed populations and improved crop productivity and profitability in the first year after tillage, with no impact in subsequent 4 years. 

Zero tillage 

No-till, permanent bed, vegetable production systems best practice manualHorticulture Australia

The project was initiated in response to increasing concerns over the use and disposal of agricultural plastic and declining soil structure in vegetable production systems through cultivation and loss of soil organic matter in the Bowen district of Queensland. Trial sites, however, were located throughout the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Conclusions drawn from this work and general principles can be extrapolated to a range of locations and crop types.

Demonstrating the benefits of reduced-till vegetable production, 2016

The project created two demonstration sites at Bathurst, NSW, and East Gippsland, Vic, to demonstrate how reduced tillage practices can be integrated into commercial vegetable production. Three showcase sites were also created to highlight the changes in tillage by vegetable growers. Those sites were at Kalbar, Qld; Cowra, NSW and Werribee, Vic. They highlighted the fact that similar yields can be obtained with reduced tillage, while improving soil conditions. The project has been upfront about the challenges and the need to work through problems with growers and agronomists. 

Getting started with no-till, FARMpos Pty Ltd

This article has been written in an Australian context:  7 steps to no-till: 1. Use a good no-till agronomist 2. Increased management knowledge and skills 3. Soil compaction from machinery 4. Dealing with harvest residues 5. Managing weeds 6. Nutrient tie-ups, especially Nitrogen 7. Planting through residues

Case studies

Briandra - Using raised beds and beneficial fungi to restore soil health , Lismore, VIC, Soils for Life

Raising crop beds, Using brewed cellulose-digesting bacteria and fungi combined with grazing to manage cereal stubbles, Spreading biological blend on soils, Increased the area available for cropping through improved drainage​, Adoption of practices across a community, Improved soil health and fertility, Increased sheep weight gain. 

Prospect Pastoral Company - Against all odds - turning sand into profit,  Perth, WA, Soils for Life

Initially investing in 660 hectares of marginal and degraded wheat country, Ian and Dianne Haggerty have built up a successful production area of 8000 hectares producing cereals and sheep on limited rainfall and sandy salt-affected soils.

Introduction of biological fertilisers and zero tillage to improve soil function and structure, Integration of grazing with cropping to enhance nutrient cycling and soil structure, Revegetation to limit spread of salt, Successful crop production on 100mm rainfall, Increased soil water-holding capacity, Sheep bred to adapt to local environment lambing at 90%-150% and producing high quality 17-20 micron wool

 
 
 
 
 
 
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The Ecoefficiency Group

2018