Plant based solutions to improve soil performance through rhizosphere modification.
Project Start Date: Feb 2019
Project End Date: Dec 2022
Project Funding: Soil CRC
Project Collaborators: Murdoch University, Southern Cross University, Central West Farming Systems, NSW DPI, Charles Sturt University, Herbert Cane Productivity Services, Riverine Plains, Hart Field Site Group.
This project will determine the role of increased crop diversity in rotational systems for soil performance and farm profitability in broadacre grains and sugarcane industries. Through glasshouse and field studies at key industry sites, we will investigate the potential for plant based solutions to improve soil performance through rhizosphere modification. In glasshouse and small plot trials, the project will identify differences in root exudation/rhizodeposition, and root depth and distribution, of diverse plant species and link these to changes in soil biology, porosity and nutrient cycling and ultimately determine the soil’s ability to sustain healthy, high yielding crops. Long-term field trials (trials that are run for 3+ years) with grower groups in 5 soil types/growing environments will investigate how the introduction of plants can manipulate the rhizosphere processes and enhance soil performance. These experiments will determine how species diversity affects water use efficiency, weeds and yield/production costs over 3.75 years to determine system profitability.