Soil health a big winner from precision ag trial

There have been noticeable benefits to soil structure from the precision ag trial focusing on variable rate nutrition over the past 2.5 years at our Koo Wee Rup demo site in Victoria. This is in combination with ryegrass cover crops and semi-permanent beds in a celery-ryegrass-leek-ryegrass rotation (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Trial site in mid-September 2020 showing terminated and incorporated ryegrass cover crops prior to leek planting. 

The Soil Wealth ICP team recently collected pre-plant soil tests at the demo site. You can see the noticeable difference in soil structure between the control and trial areas (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Soil structure assessment showing the difference between the control (left), treatment 1 (middle) and treatment 2 (right).

Trial Bays 5-12 show the best improvements and most sightings of earthworms – a great indicator of soil health. We compiled a short video to see for yourself.

Variable rate nutrition has led to better plant available nutrients and uniformity of yield in the preceding winter leek and summer celery crops. There has also been a reduction in soil-borne disease pressure (e.g. Pythium spp., Rhizoctonia spp.), and it will be interesting to see the DNA pathogen test results from this year. Stay tuned!

In the meantime you can read our latest case study or listen to a podcast about the trial site to find out more about the results and how they could apply to your farm.