GRAEME and Jenny Cope’s dairy farm near Fish Creek was the perfect venue for last week’s Understanding Healthy Soils event.
The event was hosted by the Copes and organised by Jill Vella, the South Gippsland Shire Council’s Agricultural Climate Resilience Officer, with support from the two local shires, the state government and the Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership.
It was all about preparing soils for the worst conditions which are becoming more frequent due to climate change.
“The Copes have very healthy soil. We know that as we’ve had field days here before.
“In wet years, the soil is impacted, but it handles it better than others.

Browns Fertilisers agronomist Stuart McNaughton gets a detailed look at the soil at the field day. N042215

Browns Fertilisers agronomist Stuart McNaughton gets a detailed look at the soil at the field day. N042215

“A resilient soil will cope well in all conditions.”
“A healthy soil not only provides the plants growing in it with support, it is a living, dynamic whole environment.
“We need to understand this to develop soils on our farms that maximise pasture growth and are resilient to climate change.”
Agronomist Kevin Hughes was one of the guest speakers. He works with the Copes using Petrik Soil Technology.
Graeme said that involves applying microbes to the pasture once a year.
“It enhances the biology of the soil, and along with using some lime, it seems to work well.
“We’re a bit different because we’re still using NPK fertilisers but we get a better response using these fertilisers with the biology.”
After lunch, soil samples were literally put under the microscope to see the organisms at work.
Attendees found out how to nurture the soil microbiology, and what that means to nutrient utilisation and soil fertility.