The Liebe Group recently opened its laboratory doors to the community to showcase the tools and equipment used for its research and development activities.
Local farmers, community members and science students from the Dalwallinu Primary School viewed demonstrations of soil monitoring equipment and how it can be used to improve management decisions to improve soil health.
Some of the equipment showcased included a basic soil pH and electrical conductivity meter, an EM 38 ground conductivity meter, from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), a digital penetrometer and a Haldrup LT-35 grain thresher.
Soil pH and electrical conductivity (EC) are two important soil chemistry indicators that provide information about the acidity or alkalinity levels and salinity levels in the soil.
"Having access to equipment that can help farmers monitor these properties quickly and locally can be of significant value to local farmers who want to be able to get a quick and accurate measure on a paddock they are managing," said Liebe Group executive officer Chris O'Callaghan.
"The group has available a range of different tools that, when not being used in the research and development program, can be utilised by Liebe members for their own monitoring or on farm trial purposes."
Other equipment includes a Christie Engineering hydraulic soil corer, harvest loss drop trays, hand-held trial boom, drying oven, John Deere ute mount GPS, plus a range of small tools and accessories.
At the open day attendees heard from Jenni Clausen, SoilsWest and Russell Speed, DPIRD.
Ms Clausen ran a session with the science students on understanding the pH scale and how this effects plant health, as well as demonstrating the popular "soil your undies" test that gives an indication of the biological health of a soil by showing how quickly fabric can be decomposed in a biologically healthy soil.
Mr Speed discussed landscape hydrology in the region and how salinity and waterlogging can be easily measured and monitored in the field using tools such as EM38 and EC testing.
The laboratory and equipment is an investment by the Grains Research and Development Corporation into the regions capacity.
It has also been supported by DPIRD and the Northern Agricultural Catchment Council.
For more information about the Liebe Group and how to become a member, go to liebegroup.org.au
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