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Digging the dirt on organic material

A free forum detailing the ins and outs of using organic material on farm will be a great way for landholders to improve their understanding of the opportunities and challenges of using animal manures and composts, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Land Health Manager Rhiannon Apted says.

“We know there is a lot of interest out there about using animal manure and other organic matter to improve soils and boost productivity,” Ms Apted said. “Landholders are also keen to learn more about the costs, applying manures and any possible issues around contaminants and nutrient build up.

“There is a lot of information and misinformation available about this topic. There are some clear key principles backed by evidence that we can supply to the farming community to help them develop their thinking and understanding around using organic materials.

“The Organic Matters 2014 forum is a terrific opportunity for landholders to hear from experts as well as farmers already trialling the use of organic matter.”

The speakers include:

  • Dr Cassandra Schefe, soil scientist from Schefe Consulting, will speak about  the role of organic matter in soil, covering:

-  understanding different animal manures and composts and how they interact in soil

-  application methods

-  testing standards

  • Dr Ian Holmes, District Veterinary Officer from the Department of Environment & Primary Industries, will speak about:

-  possible contaminents for stock and over-supply of nutrients

  • Local farmers will speak about their personal experience of using organic materials on-farm, using and producing compost, and the pros and cons for their businesses.

The forum will be held from 9.30am to 3.30pm at the Benalla Lakeside Community Centre located at the Benalla Showgrounds (entrance via Arundel St) on Friday September 12.

The forum is free but RSVP is essential for catering purposes. Contact Karen Brisbane on 5822 7734, 0409 955 396 or karenb@gbcma.vic.gov.au

The event is part of the Goulburn Broken CMA’s SoilCare Project, funded by the Australian Government and supported by Landcare Victoria and DEPI.