The Second Smart Farm Smart Soils Community of Practice (CoP) Field Trip recently met with the biggest soil issue for Australia

The second face to face event of the national CoP for soil extension took place on the Darling Downs in Southern Queensland and focused on soil erosion and its control.

CoP members and some of the local Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) network were treated to real life examples in the field and expert analysis of soil erosion and its control on the Darling Downs, Southern Qld. The day was equally beneficial for both ‘access to soil science expertise and learning bout soil and landscapes in this region’.

Participants all agreed that the most valuable aspect of the day were the access to soil science experts and the links to wider network of stakeholders working in soil management.

In their own words, here’s the most valuable learnings from the day:

  • “Landscape processes and management regulations”
  • “Soil pits and their use’ and
  • “Soil types, characteristics and diagnosis. Landscape context”

Speakers for the Qld branch of SSA, Andrew Biggs and Kristi Williams led the group through a thorough examination of a soil pit and ex QLD government soil conservation officers Barry Stone, Geoff Titmarch and Mark Genrich explained the complexities of erosion control on the downs over the years as land use and farm practice have changed.

As one participant put it “the passion of the speakers was contagious, and it was great to have the opportunity to network with them and share in their knowledge and expertise.”

And special thanks to Bernie Powell who shared his not insubstantial knowledge of the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys with the CoP members on the trip to and from Brisbane.

The group was also fortunate to be able to hear from Steve Harper with his extensive experience and understanding of horticulture in the Lockyer valley and Chris from SEQ water. Chris spoke about soil erosion and its impacts on the Brisbane water supply and how SEQ water is working to improve land management to ensure water quality.

The CoP is a group of soil scientists from across Australia who meet regularly to share the latest soil science information and tools. Its focus is to support those who assist landholders. The CoP is convened by SSA with funding from the Smart Farms Small Grants program of Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.