Resilience focus for Barossa conference

SOIL health is key to improving the resilience of grazing businesses, according to agroecologist and soil fertility specialist David Hardwick.

Mr Hardwick says more andmore people are coming to realise the importance of soil function for sustainability and resilience to climate change.

Mr Hardwick, who will speak at the Barossa Improved Grazing Group’s Building Resilience Conference on Thursday, February 22, says top soil is the second most important asset in any farm business, second only to people.

“Graziers across Australia are realising we need to look after our soils and keep them in working order,” he says.

“It isn’t good enough these days for the farmer to understand what’s going on above the ground, they also need to understand the fundamentals of soil health, from microbes to soil structure and soil chemistry.”

Mr Hardwick will conduct a pre-conference workshop on Understanding Soil Health, where, in a practical way, he will cover why it is important for farmers and graziers to focus on soil health and provide key principles to achieving healthy and productive soils in any landscape.

BIGG chair Graham Keynes says the conference theme “strategies for a robust grazing system” would provide a great opportunity for those in the Barossa region and further afield to gather the latest information on building resilience into their soils, their pastures and themselves.

The Building Resilience conference will feature 5AA radio host and former sports commentator Mark Aiston who will discuss his lifelong battle with depression, alcohol and gambling. Other topics include soil acidity, soil moisture monitoring and pasture varieties for a changing climate.

“We have a great mix of scientists, consultants and producers who will be presenting at the conference, along with an exercise where participants will develop a management plan for their pastures,” Mr Keynes says.

“The conference will also provide a brilliant opportunity for networking with other producers and industry experts.”

The $50 ticket price includes afternoon tea and a two-course dinner at Lambert Estate.

The conference is supported by Meat and Livestock Australia and the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board and the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme and the NRM Levies.