June 18th saw a bus of interested community members hop aboard for a tour organised by Robert Doyle and Andrew O’Farrell from Growcom. In total 16 people attended,these people came from a cross section of the community with representatives from Department of Primary Industries, Department of Natural Resources, Burnett Catchment Care Association, farmers, bankers and teachers.Presenters including Pat Menkens (Menken’s Irrigation Services), Gavin Berry (Department of Primary Industries Bundaberg Research Station) and Maureen Schmitt (Bundaberg Landcare, Bundaberg Native Plants and Environmental Consulting) provided additional information at each of the sites and were interesting to listen to and learn from them.
The first site that was visited looked at the use of TriSCAN soil monitoring probes.These probes allow better farm management of soil moisture and salinity movement(Electrical conductivity) by ensuring that the fertilisers stay within the root zone of the crop. The use of TriSCAN probes also allows the farmer to better plan fertilizer and watering regimes to best suit their soil types and the time of year. TriSCAN probes also allow an indepth knowledge of a farmers soil to give him a better understanding of how nutrients move through the soil profiles on his property.
The second trial site that was visited looked at the effects of the rising water table levels and how from these rising water tables salinty is now a major issue for farmers in the Bundaberg area. This trial site looked at the effects of fencing off the effected area and cross ploughing the soil to help prevent erosion as the paddock in question is located at the base of a slope. Also once these techniques had been applied the land holder then plant some salt tolerant She-Oak trees in the paddock. by planting these trees the landholder is hoping to reduce the rising water table levels and hopefully over time, re-introduce stock back into the paddock as short term grazing paddock.
The third and final site was located at Monduran Citrus and here the tour looked at the effectiveness of Sediment Traps, for the retaining and storage of run off water. March of this year Monduran citrus with funding from Growcom and Burnett Catchment Care Association implemented the use of a sediment trap on their property. The role of the sediment trap is to catch any and all runoff from both the Citrus paddocks and grazing paddocks from their property. The runoff is then collected in this trap and then re-pumped back into the property on the citrus trees. The use of sediment trap allows Monduran to re-use the water so saving on allocated water and also help to relieve any runoff that may get into our river system. Would like to acknowledge input from Central Queensland University student, Matthew Baumann.