The President of the National Farmers’ Federation, Fiona Simson, says modern farmers are focusing on landscape management, conservation tillage and regenerating Australia’s degraded soils.

In an interview for Soils for Life (www.soilsforlife.org.au), Ms Simson said it was important that the country’s agricultural industry had a focus on soils and sustainability.

In Australia we have ancient soils and we also have extreme climate, so we have amazing temperatures, amazing rainfalls, amazing winds, and our soils are as much a result of all of those factors, as well as some of our farming practices that have changed over the years,” Ms Simson said.

“Some of our planning principles have seen some of our best soils overlain by towns and cities and roads and infrastructure, so some of the soils that are ideal for farming are actually in the middle of our cities.”

“I think there’s a whole range of factors that have gone into why our soils are now in some areas very degraded.”

These days, we don’t plough the soils all the time. We understand that it actually breaks up the soil structure and removes its water holding capacity. It changes the way that microbes live in the soil and it’s much better to invest in conservation tillage equipment that plants the next crop directly into the stubble from the previous crop.”

Ms Simson said Australian farmers were frontline environmentalists.

“If you do focus on cropping, for example, you have the capacity to upgrade some of your equipment to modern conservation farming equipment and upgrade your practices so if you’re going to bring in natural fertilisers, it makes sense that you bring it in on a larger scale and sometimes the economies of scale work much better.”

Ms Simson said Soils for Life’s membership of the Federation would bring a greater focus on soils and the sustainability of soils in the future to the NFF.

To view Fiona Simson’s video, go to:  https://youtu.be/bltqrGHPOQg


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