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Developing conservation agricultural innovations and practice change: a model for future research, development, extension and training in a brave new world


Lemerle, D and Hume, I and Nugent, T and Higgins, V and Love, C and Slinger, D and Brown, R and Harris, M and Pratt, T and Mwendwa, J and Ford, R and Beveridge, M, Developing conservation agricultural innovations and practice change: a model for future research, development, extension and training in a brave new world, Proceedings of the 17 th ASA Conference, 20-24 September 2015, Hobart, Tasmania (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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Copyright 2015 Australian Society of Agronomy Inc.

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Incorporating crop residues (stubble) after harvest and adding soil nutrients (fertiliser) is thought to increase soil carbon. However, this has not been quantified over a range of soil types, climates and farming systems. The impact of this practice on grain yield and soil carbon in broad acre cropping was tested in a large collaborative project undertaken by a consortium of farming systems and grower groups, extension personnel and researchers. The project: 1. gauged growers’ attitudes to the benefits of stubble management and carbon farming; 2. determined the need for, and provided training in soil carbon and biology; and 3. conducted a field experiment to measure the impact of stubble incorporation and nutrient addition on soil carbon and grain yield at 14 sites from the eastern wheat-belt central NSW to south-west Victoria. Most growers were sceptical of stubble incorporation as a technique for sequestering carbon but recognised the need to quantify benefits and costs. Integration of stubble incorporation must provide financial returns and flexibility in farming systems. Growers were keen to undertake broad training in soil biology rather than focusing on soil carbon alone. The field experiment had variable success and identified the needs of such an ambitious approach to research. These are: clear experimental protocols, careful site selection, excellent communication, sufficient resources, and the clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of partners. We identify both the benefits and problems of a collaborative consortium. The engaged partners are keen to further develop this model for future collaboration.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:Crop residue; soil carbon; conservation agriculture; on-farm research; socio-economic drivers
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Sustainable agricultural development
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Environmentally sustainable plant production
Objective Field:Environmentally sustainable plant production not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Higgins, V (Professor Vaughan Higgins)
ID Code:124685
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-03-04
Last Modified:2018-05-22

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