Government awards $40 million to address Australia’s soil management issues

March 8, 2017

$40 million in government funding will aid soil science and farm management.

Murdoch University has been named as part of the biggest soil-based collaborations of farmers in Australia’s history that aims to unlock the potential of the country’s agricultural sector.

The consortium of 42 partners received $39.5 million to establish the 10 year Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for High Performance Soils (HPS), which could potentially boost Western Australia’s agricultural performance. The University of Newcastle will lead the consortium, which includes 12 researchers from Murdoch University.

In making the announcement, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO, said the CRC-HPS would help farmers bridge the gap between soil science and farm management.

“This will give them (farmers) the tools and knowledge they need to made decisions on complex soil management issues,” Senator Sinodinos said.

Professor Richard Bell, from the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, said the CRC-HPS would address a number of the biggest soil problems affecting Australia’s agricultural productivity.

“The lost opportunity resulting from Australia’s inherently poor soils costs the economy billions of dollars annually,” Professor Bell said.

“This opportunity cost is exacerbated as the world’s demand for food increases doubles by 2050 – predominantly due to increased demand in Asia.”

Professor Richard Harper, Leader of Agricultural Sciences, said the issue of lost production due to poor soils is widely recognised and a feature of Western Australian agriculture.

“Past investment in soil science has resulted in significant strides in production, however there are remaining challenges related to increasing productivity and maintaining food quality. There are emerging technologies and approaches and this new and large-scale national effort will produce new, practical on-farm solutions,” said Professor Harper.

“The objectives of this CRC are very relevant to Western Australia.”

The results of the project will be:

  1. An increase in crop and pasture productivity on targeted soils of between 50 and 100 per cent.
  2. Farmers able to attract price premiums through proving and marketing the high environmental standards and outcomes of their production systems to consumers.
  3. Greater employment from the manufacture of related tools, services, fertilisers and novel materials that are sold in Australia and exported internationally.
  4. An overall increase in economic activity of at least $2 billion per annum after 10 years.

Partners include; University of Newcastle, Murdoch University, Federation University Australia, University of Tasmania, Charles Sturt University, University of Southern Queensland, Kansas State University, Primary Industries and Regions SA, Landcare Research (New Zealand), Agriculture Victoria, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Western Australia No Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA), The Gillamii Center, Liebe Group, Facey Group, Farmanco plus many from eastern Australia.

Partners and the South Australian Grain Industry Trust Fund will contribute an additional $27 million to the CRC.

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a comment

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published.

Thanks for commenting!