Sugar cane harvesting at Gregory River near Proserpine.
Sugar cane harvesting at Gregory River near Proserpine.

Prossie growers asked to dig deep to help soil health

PROSERPINE growers are being asked to "dig deep" as part of a workshop focusing on the health of local soil.

"The healthier the soil, the healthier the crop" said Sugar Services Proserpine manager Frank Millar.

The simple concept is why he is helping to organise a soil and nutrition workshop being held next month, which specifically focuses on Proserpine soil.

"A lot of the pathogens that affect sugarcane are because of the imbalance of the properties in the soil," he said.

"So if we can find the imbalance and correct it, then nature has its own way of suppressing disease and pathogens."

Mr Millar said sugarcane farmers were "particularly conscious of the Great Barrier Reef", and welcomed any work designed to maximise sugarcane production and neutralise any harm to the reef.

He said investigating soil health could reduce the amount of chemicals needed in the production of sugarcane.

"Soil health is becoming increasingly more important and relevant in modern agriculture, and using it can reduce fertiliser and chemicals," he said.

The workshop will consist of both a theoretical portion, and a practical portion, as attendees travel out into the field to see the actions first hand.

Farmers are encouraged to bring their own soil samples on the day, with a "quick and easy" test being able to reveal acidity and sodicity levels.

"Growers tend to take note more when they see it in their own backyard, otherwise there's a tendency to think it might not apply to them. This workshop will really focus on Proserpine," Mr Millar said.

"Dr Phil Moody will be giving a run down on the science and the value of it, and we'll be showing the soil health kit developed by Sugar Research Australia.

"Bring about 500 grams of topsoil, 0-20cm deep, and 500 grams of deeper subsoil, 40-60cm deep, to be assessed on the day."

The workshop will run on March 19. 8.30am-3pm. RSVPs can be made to Frank Millar on 0419679427


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