The weather on Friday the 3rd June was perfect for an outdoor field day on private property in Serpentine. There were 17 individuals who turned up to the Soil Amendment Field Day to learn how to promote better pasture growth, support their horses, reduce erosion, and decrease nutrient runoff.
Justine Wolfgang from C-Wise gave a presentation on the importance of soil testing. A soil test can help property owners reduce practises such as spending time and money adding things to a soil it doesn’t need, controlling weeds that are prevalent due to unproductive soils, and having to buy in feed because the pasture doesn’t support the amount of livestock.
There was a paddock walk through with attendees taken through the soil test results and looking at what each indicator meant. The amendments to the sites sandy soils which included adding clay and compost were seen and talked about. Two holes were dug on the property with a clear difference in the top layers where soils were amended compared to where they weren’t. It was definitely interesting to see the sandy soil seemed to go on and on with no changes due to depth! Some attendees brought in soils samples and it was amazing to see that in one local Shire such as Serpentine Jarrahdale we had many different soil types, from clay based soils in Jarrahdale, sandy soils in Serpentine and loamy soils in Oakford. Justin also talked about the importance of adding compost to your soils. C-Wise composts can increase your soils carbon, support soil organisms and amend soil deficiencies without the use of chemicals.
Sustainable Land Management
After an amazing lunch of sandwiches from The Jarrahdale General Store and cakes from the newly opened Rusty Nut Café, Serpentine Dr Richard Bell a sustainable land management professor from Murdoch University gave a talk on soils. Dr Bell took attendees through the scientific reasons behind soil types and how they have formed over the Swan Coastal Plain and Darling Range Plateau. The properties of these soil types come from the formative processes that created them, these properties can make them better or worse form land managers with practises modified for your soils type. One of the messages from Dr Bell’s talk was that you can’t have too much sand you just don’t have enough clay!
It’s so important for property owners to realise they are one small part of a large system and sustainable management practises seek to reduce your impacts on that system and is a responsibility of land ownership. Having healthy soils on your property can make that job so much easier.
Attendees left the field day with their own PH soil testing kit to start their own soil journeys and we looking forward to seeing pictures and stories of what they find.
There are some handouts from the event available to those that are interested.
Sneak peak at next field day
The third field day in the series looks at wind and weed breaks. Nancy Scade from Australian native Nursery will host a demonstration on effective planting techniques and how to choose the right seedling types. Property owners can learn how planting native species can create a native corridor while protecting your pasture from erosion and weeds. There will also be a presentation about fodder trees and incorporating them into your property management.
The third field day is also in Serpentine on Friday July the 22nd 9am –1 pm. Attendees will go home with a voucher from the Australian Native Nursery to start their wont native windbreaks at home.