Category: Snippets

Biological Soil Crusts Research Workshop

BIOCRUST4 is the 4th international workshop on the science, art and ecology of biological soil crusts. It follows on from successful events in Germany, Spain and the USA.

It will be held at the Moreton Bay Research Station located on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerrabah) in Queensland, Australia from 25-30th August 2019.

AgSight is pleased to sponsor a student to attend the workshop.

Biocrusts have profound effects on ecosystem properties and functions, and the study of biocrusts will support our work to incorporate ecological processes in agricultural systems.

2019 AORA Conference is in Perth

AgSight is pleased to support the May 2019 AORA Conference in Perth.

Delegates will again wear our bright yellow lanyards featuring the AgSight and Solvita™ brands.

Solvita Maturity Testing technologies play a key role in the making of good quality composts and the Solvita Soil Microbial Activity tests allow farmers to develop healthy soils and crops.

We are pleased to say that the compost industry and the research institutes in WA are ahead of the game in using and developing applications for Solvita’s technologies.

I look forward to catching up with you at the conference.

Promising New Stylo

Grazier Gerard Lyon and JCU Pastures guru Chris Gardiner discuss the performance of a new Stylos on Gerard’s property just south of Townsville.

The selection shows good promise growing here during August 2017 in a free-draining light and infertile soil well-suited to Stylo and Wynn cassia.

Soil Life Test for Microbial Activity

Rapid Testing of Soil Microbial Activity

Solvita’s® Soil CO2 Respiration test is an advanced technology for use on-farm by you or your agronomist.

Used strategically and over time, the data it provides can assist you to improve the health of your soil.

Standard agricultural practices applied to the root zone such as cultivation or fertilisation (organic or inorganic including carbon) will affect the way that the soil’s biology supports the growth of a crop. While we don’t know precisely how those effects are confounded, we can use microbial activity to indicate nutrient supply from organic matter.

Contact Dr. Steve Ockerby for more information about how the Solvita® soil test can help to improve your farming system.

solvita.com provides the best technical information

Solvita tests for soils, compost, manure and grain are developed and manufactured by Woods End Laboratories in Mt. Vernon Maine, USA. Technical information and the latest developments in the USA are available at solvita.com for those interested in applications of the technology.

Dr. W. F. Briton, the founder of Solvita systems points out the value of volumetric tests of respiration in constructed soil media as a key indicator of its good performance. Measuring volumetric respiration or the exchange of CO2 for O2 per unit volume may give a better representation of the true health of the soil environment.

More-and-more recycled organic composts are being added to potting mixes and soils, so there is a continual need to evaluate the maturity and stability of composts for particular applications.

Read the article at solvita.com

Solvita Compost Test included in Australian Standard AS 4454 (2012)

The revised Australian Standard AS4454® (2012) for Composts, soil conditioners and mulches was released on the 29th February 2012. It includes significant revision of the requirements for those businesses implementing the new standard and those claiming compliance with the standard.

Of particular relevance to Solvita® is the requirement to determine the Maturity Index detailed in Appendix N. For classification as either compost or mature compost, materials need to obtain threshold levels in approved tests for both Biological Stability and Plant Growth (Table N3.2 of AS4454).

Meter sor compost maturityThe Solivta Compost Test is an approved method and can supply data for both tests. Importantly, the test can be done at the composting site, and the short incubation time (4 hours) allows an assessment of compost maturity before a sample is despatched for laboratory testing.

Burdekin farmers measure soil microbes

The innovative work of farming is still done in the shed. At a recent meeting in the Burdekin, farmers worked with different field and laboratory methods for measuring soil microbial activity. Their aim was simple, to get data to evaluate their management practices with respect to the health of their soil and the productivity of sugarcane and vegetable crops.

Farmers used the standard Solvita® soil CO2 respiration test to compare sugarcane soils that had received mill mud and ‘biology’ with soils that were farmed conventionally. Microbial activity was enhanced.

Farmers that used this approach commented that phosporus availability had increased 3-fold (as indicated by Colwell-P test) and the new recommendation was not to apply P fertiliser. The challenge now is to reassess crop responses to inputs in new systems of farming where the maintenance and enhancement of soil health is emphasised to achieve both crop yield and the wider benefits of soil-based ecosystems.

The meeting was organised by Tom McShane (standing on left) of the Burdekin Bowen Integrated Floodplain Management Committee to discuss the broader issues of Carbon in Farming. Ken Bellamy of vrm Biologik spoke about applying microbes to the soil and Dr. Steve Ockerby, a freelance scientist, addressed the issue of soil carbon in sugarcane farming systems.