Image credit: ABC TV
Dr Damien Field, from the Department of Agriculture and the Environment at the University of Sydney, says that recent reports about soil health were a timely warning but by no means a doom and gloom scenario.
Recent reports from the World Food and Agriculture Organisation warned that our soils only have 60 harvests left in them due to soil degradation. They stated that more needs to be done to rehabilitate soils to prevent further degradation.
Dr Field says that while its a bit of a wake up call, it presents us with a challenge to find new ways to deal with a problem, or new ways to manage a system.
He says that we need to ask ourselves a series of questions;
‘What is this soil capable of’
‘Can this soil continue to be capable of this’
‘How can we develop new farming systems and new practices so we can sustain it as a resource into the longer term?’
Dr Field says that we can look at a mixed approach to suit the soils, in some cases using minimum till, composting, or organic methods and in some areas they may be more suited to the input of chemicals like nitrogen or phosphorous. People over time can improve management, monitoring the nutrients and micronutrients and getting the balance right.