Setting the paddock up for a good crop of cane – Richard & Jo Prior’s Multi species Cover Crop 2017

Setting the paddock up for a good crop of cane – Richard & Jo Prior’s Multi species Cover Crop 2017
R & J prior multispecies Cover crop

CQSHS members Richard & Jo Prior used a multi-species cover crop prior to cane this year to help build soil health and address some of the usual soil constraints found in Mackay district cane paddocks such as poor structure, low soil carbon and low biological function. The mix used included mung beans, jap millet, corn sorghum and sunflowers. Prior to planting the ground had mill mud banded at 150 tonnes /hectare along with lime at 1 tonne. Planted on the 30th December 2016 the crop had 300mm before emergence but still kicked on! They sprayed it out on 28th Feb 2017. Plenty of sun and warmth meant the crop powered away and produced some pretty respectable biomass – above and below ground!

Richard & Jo Prior's multi-species cover crop planter

Richard & Jo Prior's multi-species cover crop Feb 2017

David is an agroecologist who works in the area of soil management, composts and biofertilisers, land management and food systems with farmers and graziers across Australia.

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