Articles, publications and case studies

Resources

Soil Wealth and Crop Health: Vital Components to Potato and Vegetable Crops

Soil Wealth and Crop Health: Vital Components to Potato and Vegetable Crops
15 Aug 2017

Members of the Soil Wealth and ICP team were recently interviewed for the Potatoes Australia magazine. The key message? Many of the soil health and plant protection practices relevant to vegetables, also apply to potatoes.

Click through to read the article.

SOILpak for vegetable growers in NSW

SOILpak for vegetable growers in NSW
14 Aug 2017

The Vegetable SOILpak manual was developed by NSW Department of Primary Industries to provide soil information relevant to irrigated vegetable production in New South Wales. The manual aims to provide decision support for landholders and advisers, helping to maintain or improve productivity over both the short and long term.

Soil health toolbox

Soil health toolbox
26 Jul 2017

Read this excellent summary of some common tools for managing soil health in cropping/mixed enterprises in Tasmania. Generally, the more tools you can use, the better!

This poster was prepared by Adrian James, NRM North, with contributions by Bill Cotching, Doris Blaesing, Greg Gibson and John McPhee.

Updates on cover crops and soil borne disease in WA Grower magazine

Updates on cover crops and soil borne disease in WA Grower magazine
25 Jul 2017

There has been some great coverage of our economic case study for cover crops, as well as a demonstration site update on the compost trials from Gingin in Western Australia in the Winter 2017 edition of the WA Grower magazine.

Click through to read the articles.

Soil borne disease management in vegetable crops with Dr Len Tesoriero

Soil borne disease management in vegetable crops with Dr Len Tesoriero
24 Jul 2017

Soil borne diseases are a serious concern for the vegetable industry, but can be managed, according to NSW Department of Primary Industries Senior Plant Pathologist, Dr Len Tesoriero. Dr Tesoriero has given a number of interesting and practical presentations at recent industry events on managing soil borne diseases in vegetable crops.

What is compost worth? Using compost in Australian vegetable systems

What is compost worth? Using compost in Australian vegetable systems
5 Jun 2017

This case study outlines the economic considerations when using compost in vegetable production systems. It is based on lessons learned from several Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) demonstration sites, during the period 2014 to 2016.

The costs of compost are largely driven by the type and quality of the compost; freight costs depends on distance; and spreading/incorporation costs depend on application rates, type of compost, machinery required, travelling time and the scale of the work.

The benefits will depend on the individual farm as well as the objectives for using compost, for example increase organic matter or prevent be collapse. The main benefits of using compost are increased organic matter, adding nutrients to the soil, increased water holding capacity of the soil, and disease suppression. It is important to consider other practices that may need to change in conjunction with compost application, such as tillage, irrigation and crop protection requirements.

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Houston’s Farms, Tasmania

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Houston’s Farms, Tasmania
29 May 2017

Houston’s Farm, in southern Tasmania, grow a range of ready to eat leafy salad products including lettuce, brassica leafy vegetables, beets and spinach.

Despite a positive experience with IPM in the control of Lettuce Aphid, Houston’s Farm were reluctant to adopt IPM based on only one experience. One of the biggest challenges to adopting IPM was regular monitoring, including looking for beneficial species. Now, Houston’s Farm have developed their own IPM manual to train new staff, including photos of pest and beneficial species, and other information such as appropriate pesticides.

To find out more read this practical case study.

What is a cover crop worth? Cover crops in Australian vegetable systems

What is a cover crop worth? Cover crops in Australian vegetable systems
16 Mar 2017

This case study outlines the economic considerations when using cover crops in vegetable production systems. It is based on lessons learned from several Soil Wealth – ICP demonstration sites, during the period 2014 to 2016.

One of the most important considerations is being clear about the purpose of using cover crops in the farm system system as it influences the way you may judge costs and benefits and the timing of these.

The overall benefits will depend on each situation. However, to figure out what works for you on your farm and a specific purpose, talk to others who have used cover crops for a similar purpose / situation; trial cover crops or include a test strip if possible.

Tomato potato psyllid

Tomato potato psyllid
20 Feb 2017

The psyllid is a tiny sap-sucking insect. Tomato potato psyllids go through three stages of development – adult, egg and nymph.

The tomato potato psyllid can cause capsicums and chili plants to die back. Foliage symptoms include leaves becoming misshapen, pale green or yellow with spiky tips and leaf stalks appear stunted.

It's importnat to practice sound crop hygiene/biosecurity practices to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases. Read this fact sheet from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA for more information.

MyAgCHEMuse: Best practice reference guide for spray drift management

MyAgCHEMuse: Best practice reference guide for spray drift management
20 Feb 2017

Modern crop protection chemistry such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, is crucial to farming in Australia and around the world. These essential products and tools are a core foundation to food production and their safe and sustainable use is of critical importance.

Find out more by reading this useful best practice guide developed by CropLife Australia.

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Jerome Thompson, Werribee South Farm Supplies, Werribee South VIC

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Jerome Thompson, Werribee South Farm Supplies, Werribee South VIC
9 Feb 2017

Jerome Thompson, Werribee South Farm Supplies CRT Store branch manager, supplies agricultural products to about 110 vegetable farmers in the Werribee South region.

Over the past 20 years Jerome has observed a progressive change in grower adoption of integrated pest management (IPM). Jerome notes opportunities for greater adoption of IPM through growers improving their skills in monitoring pests, timing sprays and identification of beneficial species.

Read this practical case study to learn more from leading growers.

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Daniel Fragapane, Werribee South VIC

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Daniel Fragapane, Werribee South VIC
19 Jan 2017

Werribee South vegetable grower, Daniel Fragapane, runs a 42 hectare farm growing cauliflowers and broccoli for supermarket chain ALDI. He adopted IPM on his Werribee South farm following a recommendation from his cousins.

Daniel has been impressed with the results he’s seen in this crop, following the use of IPM. The biggest challenge for him has been time scheduling of control options, such as avoiding peak UV periods for caterpillar control with products such as Dipel in summer.

Daniel has managed these challenges through a combination of targeted control, including strategic location spraying rather than whole of farm, and using alternative products when required.

Read this practical case study to learn more from leading growers.

Calculating Return on Investment for on farm trials

Calculating Return on Investment for on farm trials
15 Dec 2016

An on farm trial tests the yield or economic effect of a management treatment on an agricultural system. This information can then form the basis for wider application of the treatment in other parts of the farm. Precision Agriculture (PA) tools offer a simple and effective means to implement and measure such trials as part of a normal farming operation. This booklet uses working examples of how PA tools have enabled growers to measure the economic returns of treatments to help them with whole farm decisions.

Biochar showing positive benefits for organic vegetable grower in Darwin

Biochar showing positive benefits for organic vegetable grower in Darwin
7 Dec 2016

The Darwin Soil Wealth/ICP site on David Boehme’s property was set up with help from Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) and NT Farmers, to showcase several organic approaches that are now considered to be best practice for the broader horticulture industry.

David Boehme is one of Australia’s most experienced organic farmers and he suggests that “every farmer should first learn to farm organically to understand soil biology, beneficial predators, useful non-chemical approaches, and sustainability.

David’s organic farm at Lambells Lagoon, 47km east of the Darwin CBD, is demonstrating cover crops, biochar, reduced tillage and managing pests and disease in an integrated manner.

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Peter Schreurs and Sons, Devon Meadows VIC

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Peter Schreurs and Sons, Devon Meadows VIC
5 Dec 2016

Peter Schreurs and Sons grow a range of vegetable crops on their 180 hectare farm in Devon Meadows near Cranbourne in Victoria. Leeks are the main crop in the business, but they also produce cos lettuce, endive, kohl-rabi, wombok and radicchio.

On the farm, Darren Schreurs is responsible for controlling pest and disease in the crops. Darren first encountered Integrated Pest Management (IPM) when he was trying to deal with mites and thrips in their leek crop.

Read this practical case study to learn more from leading growers.

Carrot diseases and other factors affecting carrot packout

Carrot diseases and other factors affecting carrot packout
2 Dec 2016

Read this great summary of carrot disorders to better understand what may be affecting your carrot packout. This includes corky brown rot, cavity spot, sclerotinia rot and violet root.

This poster was prepared by By Dr. Hoong Pung & Pam Cox, Serve-Ag Research in Tasmania.

Soil Wealth: AORA Field Day at the Greater Sydney Local Land Services Demonstration Farm

Soil Wealth: AORA Field Day at the Greater Sydney Local Land Services Demonstration Farm
18 Nov 2016

Did someone say popcorn? This is just one of the crops involved in the Soil Wealth extension project at the Cowra site. Along with chickpeas at Kalbar, eggplant in Darwin, carrots in Gingin, coloured lettuce in Gippsland, and 8-kilo cabbages in Bathurst – these various projects look at tillage, soil structure, cover crops, and the resulting healthy soil using compost.

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Schreurs and Sons, Clyde VIC

Implementing IPM on farm - experiences from leading growers: Schreurs and Sons, Clyde VIC
9 Nov 2016

Schreurs and Sons are one of the largest celery producers in Australia. Production of celery by the family business has relied on IPM for well over a decade.

The original drivers for exploring an IPM option were borne out of problems relying on a pesticide- based strategy. After initial trials, where IPM was proven effective, the approach was implemented on all farms and crops.

Read this practical case study to learn more from leading growers.

Soil and plant health benefits from using compost: A long-term case study on Baldivis Farms

Soil and plant health benefits from using compost: A long-term case study on Baldivis Farms
10 Oct 2016

This case study provides a unique long-term grower perspective on using compost on a commercial vegetable farm.

Have you ever wondered what the potential benefits to soil and plant health are from using compost? Thinking about using compost? Need to know the questions to ask a supplier of compost?

Learn more from Sam Calameri of Baldivis Farms in Western Australia who started trialling compost on-farm more than 10 years ago.

Werribee Farm Walk and demonstration site update – can 'softer' tillage work?

Werribee Farm Walk and demonstration site update – can 'softer' tillage work?
2 Sep 2016

The Werribee demonstration site held its first farm walk on 2 September 2016, hosted by Andrew Fragapane. After three lettuce crops over 10 months it was time to have a look at how the crops and soils were measuring up under the conventional-, reduced- and minimum-tillage practices. With the number of cultivations at 23, 6 and 2, respectively, some big difference could be expected.

Despite the hard setting soils the reduced-till practice was coming out as a clear winner, maintaining yields and reducing tractor, fuel and labour costs, and allowing the soil biology to do some of the heavy lifting in building a more stable soil structure which the crop roots seems to be enjoying.

Kalfresh Farm Walk and demonstration site update: June 2016

Kalfresh Farm Walk and demonstration site update: June 2016
7 Jul 2016

The Soil Wealth and ICP projects have managed a demonstration site at Kalfresh since early 2015.

The results from the demonstration site confirm that by following four principles in managing vegetable cropping soils, both soil condition and financial returns can be maximised. It’s a true win:win situation.

Review of Current Vegetable Irrigation Technologies

Review of Current Vegetable Irrigation Technologies
5 Jul 2016

This summary provides Australian vegetable growers with an understanding of available and emerging irrigation practices and technologies that could improve profitability and encourage the uptake of more efficient water practices.

Australian Standard for composts, soil conditioners and mulches

Australian Standard for composts, soil conditioners and mulches
21 Jun 2016

The objective of this Standard is to provide manufacturers, suppliers, customers and government bodies with the minimum requirements for the physical, chemical and biological properties of composts, soil conditioners, mulches and vermicast, as well as labelling and marking, in order to facilitate the beneficial recycling and use of compostable organic materials with minimal adverse impact on environmental and public health, by avoiding biosecurity and phytotoxicity risks associated with inappropriate product.

Lettuce grower David East use of biofumigant mustard

Lettuce grower David East use of biofumigant mustard
3 May 2016

David East is a lettuce grower with Bewray Pty Ltd east of Manjimup. Since 2011, David has been growing the biofumigant mustard Caliente during winter between his summer lettuce crops.

Legume cover crops can increase spinach yield

Legume cover crops can increase spinach yield
30 Mar 2016

Applied Horticultural Research team set up a “cover crop” trial there as a real farm demonstration to help growers adopt sustainable practices, and, importantly, improve their bottom line. The trial, near Cowra, in the Central West region of NSW.

All the cover crops resulted in higher yields than the fallow control. The highest yields in this trial were obtained with clover (+48%) and field peas (+36%), but ryegrass alone and compost were also effective in increasing yields compared to bare fallow.

Building soil wealth in the south-west of WA

Building soil wealth in the south-west of WA
16 Mar 2016

On September 17th a field day on biofumigation at David and Lee East’s Bewray farm at Manjimup, WA attracted over 45 growers and industry specialists.

Best Management Practices to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions for Annual Vegetable Production

Best Management Practices to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions for Annual Vegetable Production
1 Feb 2016

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a gas which under certain soil and environmental conditions is produced from both soil mineralised and fertiliser nitrogen (N) by de-nitrifying bacteria. For the farmer this represents a loss of soil fertility and/or loss of applied fertiliser. Additionally, when in the atmosphere N2O is a potent greenhouse gas. This is why it is important to minimise the loss of valuable soil and fertiliser N to the atmosphere through these processes. This BMP fact sheet sets out how this can be achieved by farmers producing vegetables.

Soil Carbon Snapshot

Soil Carbon Snapshot
1 Feb 2016

There has been a renewed focus to better understand the role and function of soil carbon in Australian agricultural situations. This summary provides a snapshot of current knowledge and signposts the key messages and reports coming from recent research and investigations across Australia. It includes:
• An introduction to soil carbon and its role
• An overview of recent research and implications for land management practices
• Useful links to key information sources.

The past, present, and future of the cover crop industry

The past, present, and future of the cover crop industry
18 Dec 2015

Steve Groff, farmer and the founder of Cover Crop Solutions, Pennsylvania, USA provides an excellent overview of cover cropping in the USA.

Management of Root-Knot Nematode in Vegetable Crops

Management of Root-Knot Nematode in Vegetable Crops
26 Nov 2015

This booklet produced in 2014 provides information on managing root-knot nematode including:
- chemical and non-chemical control
- the impact of environmental conditions on nematodes
- nematode biology, and
- the symptoms of a nematode infestation.

Building Soils for Better Crops

Building Soils for Better Crops
26 Nov 2015

This book is a practical guide to ecological soil management that provides background information as well as details of soil-improving practices. It is meant to give the reader an appreciation of the importance of soil health and to suggest ecologically sound practices that help to develop and maintain healthy soils.

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Sweetpotato: A field identification guide

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Sweetpotato: A field identification guide
15 Oct 2015

This guide enables field identification of the insects, diseases and disorders of Sweetpotato by providing:
- photos
- written description
- damage symptoms
- season when commonly found

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Sweet Corn: A field identification guide

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Sweet Corn: A field identification guide
15 Oct 2015

This guide enables field identification of the insects, diseases and disorders of Sweet Corn by providing:
- photos
- written description
- damage symptoms
- season when commonly found

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Carrots, Celery and Parsley: A field identification guide

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Carrots, Celery and Parsley: A field identification guide
15 Oct 2015

This guide enables field identification of the insects, diseases and disorders of carrots, celery and parsley by providing:
- photos
- written description
- damage symptoms
- season when commonly found

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Babyleaf Vegetables: A field identification guide

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Babyleaf Vegetables: A field identification guide
15 Oct 2015

This guide enables field identification of the insects, diseases and disorders of babyleaf vegetables by providing:
- photos of main pests
- description of main pests
- damage caused by main pests
- crops and season in which they are commonly found

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Brassica Vegetables: A field identification guide

Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Brassica Vegetables: A field identification guide
15 Oct 2015

This guide enables field identification of the insects, diseases and disorders of brassica vegetables by providing:
- photos of main pests
- description of main pests
- damage caused by main pests
- crops and season in which they are commonly found

Curing Compost: An antidote for thermal processing

Curing Compost: An antidote for thermal processing
8 Oct 2015

This article by Bob Shaffer discusses the need for curing, techniques and the potential benefits of curing compost.

Plant Nutrition Basics: Understanding the Principles to Optimise the Practices

Plant Nutrition Basics: Understanding the Principles to Optimise the Practices
8 Oct 2015

This presentation by Patrick Brown from the University of California provides an outline of the principles of plant nutrition including nutrient function and mobility in plants, soil and leaf testing, nutrient management, and plant nutrient uptake and response to fertiliser.

Advanced Biological Farming

Advanced Biological Farming
8 Oct 2015

This book by Gary Zimmer, a farmer in the United States, provides support for farmers who would like to reduce chemical inputs and use natural processes within their farming systems.

Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases

Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases
6 Oct 2015

This publication from ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) in the United States provides information on improving disease suppression within soil.

Soils Alive! Understanding and Managing Soil Biology on Tasmanian Farms

Soils Alive! Understanding and Managing Soil Biology on Tasmanian Farms
6 Oct 2015


This guide provides a context for soil health by looking at soil ecosystems and how they function, providing simple descriptions of soil organisms likely to be found, guiding understanding of what may be good or bad populations of organisms, and outlining a range of management practices likely to impact both positively and negatively on soil ecosystem function.

Diverse Cover Crop Mixes for Good Soil Health

Diverse Cover Crop Mixes for Good Soil Health
6 Oct 2015

This article discusses the benefits and challenges of incorporating mixed cover crops into a farming system.

Managing Cover Crops Profitably

Managing Cover Crops Profitably
6 Oct 2015

This handbook published by the Sustainable Agriculture Network in the United States provides helpful maps and charts, detailed narratives about individual cover crop species, chapters about specific aspects of cover cropping and extensive appendices that
will lead you to even more information about managing cover crops.

Strategies for soil conservation in no-tillage and organic farming systems

Strategies for soil conservation in no-tillage and organic farming systems
6 Oct 2015

This article from the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation discusses the outcomes of a long-term experiment comparing selected no-tillage grain cropping systems and a reduced-tillage organic system.

The Science of Composting

The Science of Composting
6 Oct 2015

This book chapter provides information based on the current body of scientific knowledge regarding composting.

Use and understanding of organic amendments in Australian agriculture: a review

Use and understanding of organic amendments in Australian agriculture: a review
29 Sep 2015

This scientific review provides insight and data on:
- the types of organic amendments available for use in Australian agriculture
- the purported benefits of applying different groups of organic amendments to plant-soil systems
- why adoption of organic amendments in Australia has been relatively slow
- why organic amendments will become increasingly important in Australian agricultural systems.

Lettuce Best Practice: Integrated Pest Management

Lettuce Best Practice: Integrated Pest Management
28 Jul 2015

Specialists in all areas of lettuce production, including insect, disease, nematode, weed and virus have combined to pool current knowledge on best practice IPM principles.

Rather than prescriptive rules for each problem, the information provides knowledge and general principles that you can use to plan for an integrated approach to crop production.

Soil guru shows how it’s done at National Horticulture Convention

Soil guru shows how it’s done at National Horticulture Convention
8 Jul 2015

“SOIL health to create wealth” was the motto at an AusVeg farm tour last week as the tour visited the Soil Wealth Kalbar.

Bugs in the system at Bulmer Farms at Lindenow

Bugs in the system at Bulmer Farms at Lindenow
5 Jul 2015

ONCE a thorn in the side of vegetable growers, insects and bugs are now being welcomed back into commercial crops.

Guide to common diseases and disorders of bunching vegetables in Australia

Guide to common diseases and disorders of bunching vegetables in Australia
22 Jun 2015

The guide to common diseases & disorders of bunching vegetables (2003, 58 pages) was produced by the R&D levy funded project VG010045. The diseases and disorders listed in this book often occur on bunching vegetables in Australia and several can occur on plants at the same time.

Guide to Common Diseases and Disorders of Parsley

Guide to Common Diseases and Disorders of Parsley
22 Jun 2015

This "Guide to Common Diseases of Parsley" (2006, 46 pages), describes 18 parsley diseases and disorders common across Australia. Symptoms are clearly shown in over 30 colour photos and practical control measures are suggested.

Authors
Elizabeth Minchinton, Len Tesoriero, Desmond Auer, Heidi Martin

Many carrot and celery diseases and disorders also affect parsley and several can occur on plants at the same time. This guide was produced by the R&D levy funded project VG04025.

Pests, beneficials, diseases and disorders in cucurbits: field identification guide

Pests, beneficials, diseases and disorders in cucurbits: field identification guide
22 Jun 2015

The Field Identification Guide is designed to assist growers, workers, students and consultants to correctly identify pests, beneficials, diseases and disorders in cucurbits in Australia.

Intended to be used as a tool in integrated pest management in cucurbits, it draws on the experience of a range of scientists and industry experts. The guide represents over 270 colour photographs in 147 pages of illustrations and text. It contains a comprehensive list of organisms and nutritional disorders identified as currently important to this industry.

This publication is only available as an e-pub for use on iPad, iPhone and iPod. Download from the Apple iBookstore.

Field Guide to Pests, Beneficials, Diseases and Disorders of Vegetable in northern Australia

Field Guide to Pests, Beneficials, Diseases and Disorders of Vegetable in northern Australia
9 Jun 2015

This publication is the first comprehensive field guide to pests, beneficials, diseases and disorders of commercially grown vegetables in the Northern Territory.

Thrips and tospovirus: a management guide

Thrips and tospovirus: a management guide
25 May 2015

This booklet provides concise information on the biology of both tospoviruses and their thrips vectors. This information is then related to the range of integrated methods that may be used to reduce the damage from both insect and virus.

Brassica Best Practice Integrated Pest Management

Brassica Best Practice Integrated Pest Management
11 May 2015

Specialists in all areas of brassica production, including insect, disease, nematode, weed and virus have combined to pool current knowledge on best practice IPM principles.

Rather than prescriptive rules for each problem, the information provides knowledge and general principles that you can use to plan for an integrated approach to crop production.

Best Practice for Vegetables - Sclerotinia in Lettuce

Best Practice for Vegetables - Sclerotinia in Lettuce
11 May 2015

This document incorporates information essential for the economic and sustainable control of sclerotinia in lettuce.

Best Practice for Vegetables - Sclerotinia in green beans

Best Practice for Vegetables - Sclerotinia in green beans
11 May 2015

The following document incorporates information essential for economic and sustainable control of sclerotinia in green beans.

Keep it CLEAN Reducing costs and losses in the management of pests and diseases in the greenhouse

Keep it CLEAN Reducing costs and losses in the management of pests and diseases in the greenhouse
11 May 2015

This guide has been produced in conjunction with participating greenhouse growers to provide a practical guide to help you to economically and effectively introduce preventative and integrated control strategies to manage pests and diseases in your greenhouses.

Diseases of Vegetable Crops in Australia

Diseases of Vegetable Crops in Australia
27 Apr 2015

This book provides a diagnostic guide and a key reference for diseases affecting vegetable crops in Australia.