In September, the Sustainable Industries team held a “Get to know your soil biology” workshop in Kellerberrin. The event was held as part of the nutrient use efficiency project and aimed to increase participant’s awareness of what is living in their soils and the potential benefits associated with encouraging healthy and diverse populations of microbiology in their soils.
There were two invited speakers to the event - Sarah Collins (DPIRD) who spoke about nematodes, and Nick Kelly (Hollands Track Farming), who discussed regenerative agriculture. Wheatbelt NRM also presented on the Nutrient Use Efficiency Project and went through some of the results that the team have been getting from recent soil chemistry and biology tests across the 120 test sites. Results have shown that sites with higher microbe numbers lost nitrogen over the summer. There was an interesting discussion about this with a number of ideas and suggestions on what may have caused the loss put forward. One suggestion related to the carbon nitrogen ratio, the idea being that if carbon levels are high, microbes will use more of the available nitrogen to get the right balance (immobilisation).
Participants found the event highly worthwhile and the presentations by the two speakers extremely interesting and engaging. The soil biology results from the Nutrient Management Project Round 4 will be combined with the chemistry and physical soil testing results to discover the nutrient use efficiency of the 120 sample sites.