FarmLink to lead soil modelling project

A GROUP of southern NSW farmers will use $2.5 million in funding to launch a new soil modelling system.

GATHERING: Crowds gather for a FarmLink open day. Picture: File image

GATHERING: Crowds gather for a FarmLink open day. Picture: File image

The system, backed by a government grant, has potential to enhance on-farm sustainability and productivity.

The pledge was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack and the Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie.

FarmLink Research Limited's soil future-proofing project would receive funding under the second round of the $57.5 million Smart Farming Partnerships program.

"With acidity and declining organic carbon levels impacting half of agricultural soils in southern and central NSW, this project could be a game changer for farmers in those areas," Mrs McKenzie said.

"It's another fantastic instance of farmers being at the forefront of innovation, working with scientists and computer modelling experts to develop a new, accurate acidification model using methods that incorporate elements of artificial intelligence," she said.

"Our farmers have always been early adopters of new technologies and this project shows the determination of many in the sector to continue that tradition," Mrs McKenzie said.

Mr McCormack said current acid soil management practices were based on outdated models that failed to prevent the widespread development of subsurface acidity in many cropping and pasture systems.

"We're excited by this project's potential to prevent the spread of sub-soil acidification across other agricultural areas of Australia," he said.

"Soil acidification can cause significant losses in production because of reduced crop yields.

"Our government is ready to help agriculture become a $100 billion industry by 2030 and we'll do that in part through investing in innovations such as these.

"It also aligns well with National Landcare Program priorities and those of the National Soil Research and Development Strategy," Mr McCormack said.