The Role of the Australian National Advocate for Soil Health, Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd)
In this Feature Interview, FDI takes the opportunity to speak with Major General the Hon. Michael Jeffery, the National Advocate for Soil Health. Since 2012, General Jeffery has striven to provided leadership and national strategic direction to the good work being done by soil scientists and landscape managers across Australia. He has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness of the critical role soil plays in underpinning sustainable productivity and helping to meet global challenges including food security and climate change.
In this FDI Feature Interview, Mister Kieran Coupe of the award-winning technology company Outpost Central discusses technologically advanced, computer-based monitoring systems to broad-acre irrigation and dryland farming.
As climate and weather patterns change, intermittent rainfall and warmer temperatures highlight the need for increasingly sophisticated water management. The use of web-enabled, digital technology to measure soil moisture is helping famers, across a wide range of agricultural pursuits, to determine the best ways to deliver irrigated water to crops and pasture. In addition to determining optimum watering delivery, farmers are making savings in power and water costs.
Ian and Dianne Haggerty, co-founders of Bio-Integrity Growers Australia and the Prospect Pastoral Company, discuss Natural Intelligence Farming, the harnessing of the dynamic, natural relationships that exists between all the organisms in the ecosystem and the environment itself, particularly the soil. It is a new and innovative approach to modern farming that is well position to capture premium markets while delivering enormous health, social and environmental benefits. They go on to discuss the industry infrastructure needed to deliver a high-quality food and fibre products to a discerning market.
Australia, as a signatory of the UN Revised World Soil Charter, recognised and endorsed the urgent need to promote worldwide sustainable soil management. Mr Noel Schoknecht provides a report card on the Government’s performance to date in meeting its Charter responsibilities.
FDI interviews Mr Frank D’Emden from Precision Agronomics Australia, a company providing technology-based solutions to farmers, consultants and industry groups across Western Australia.
Biochar, when applied to soil as an amendment, is not a fix-all for Western Australian soils that are salt, sodium affected or which are otherwise de-graded. The key strategy is to use natural and organic materials that, functioning in combination with activated biochar will serve to nurture and improve the health of the soil, as described in Part Two of our interview with Karry Fisher-Watts.
The potential of charcoal, in the form of biochar, to enhance soil fertility, while restoring carbon to the soil, has recently gained considerable attention. Research suggests that biological carbon converted to biochar can sequester about 50 per cent of its initial carbon in the soil for long periods, leading to a more stable and long-lasting soil carbon. FDI discusses with Karry Fisher-Watts her use of biochar as a way of enhancing the fertility of her property.
After discussing the emerging Middle Eastern geopolitical realities in Part One of this interview, Baker Fellow and Director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Programme at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mr Henderson gives his thoughts on the Saudi Government’s Vision 2030 plan and the Kingdom’s ability to weather the low price of oil before discussing US Middle Eastern policy and looking towards the November presidential election and some of the possible implications that it may have for the region.
Mr Simon Henderson,the Baker Fellow and Director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Programme at The Washington Institute for Near East Studies, discusses with FDI the implications of developments in the Middle East and explores some of the new geopolitical realities facing the region’s states, particularly as they affect Saudi Arabia and its relationships with Iran, Russia, Turkey and Israel.
FDI has again taken the opportunity to interview Dr Keating of the integrated resource management company, Bioscience, on the topic of soil carbon; its types, importance, measurement and why Australian agriculture needs to be mindful of its conservation and promotion for general soil health and to enhance crop vigour and yield.