More than 55 growers from Mackay and surrounds plus a further 25 industry representatives, flocked to the Western Suburbs Leagues Club to learn about the benefits of legumes to soil health and to take part in discussions ranging from variety selection and insect management, to harvest preparation and markets.
Expert presenters and Mackay-based growers provided numerous trial findings which explored what had, and hadn’t, worked at the local level.
Reef Catchment’s project office for sustainable agriculture, Juliane Kasiske, said she was delighted to see such strong interest by local growers to improve soil health and management practice.
“Farmers are willing to learn and implement changes and the legume day hopefully encouraged them by providing expert knowledge and experience,” she said.
“The day aimed to explain the benefits of legumes to soil health and also talked about how profitable legume cropping could be. The strong turn-out at the event highlighted the intent of local farmers to improve land management practices.
Oakenden growers Joe and Steve Muscat discussed their cutting edge trial with the Amuza planting system which is the first trial of its kind in Australia. Joe and Steve have experimented with rotational crops for more than fifteen years, bringing new crops to the region, and finding new markets for legume, fibre, seed, and oil crops.
“Growers generally don’t just do things for the sake of doing them, you take on change because there is potential to improve and you see things that need to be addressed,” said Joe.
“Amuza incorporates underground application of compost, mill mud and tissue cultures, using this pre-treatment and preparation as a plant source for the entire block, with a legume crop then incorporated into the soil.”
Presenters included Daniel Zinga from New Edge Microbials, Ian Morgan from PBAgrifood, and Andrew McDonald from Bean Growers Australia.
Daniel spoke on legume inoculants and how to maximise the benefits of nitrogen fixation from legumes.
PBAgrifood are the major buyers of mung beans and Ian’s main focus is to look after the soybean and mung bean parent seed production, planting seed production, and marketing and supply.
Andrew is the Accumulation Manager with Bean Growers Australia, a major exporter of pulse commodities. He is also an active committee member of the Australian Mungbean Association.
The event was hosted by Reef Catchments, through funding from the Australian Government, and supported by partners Farmacist, MAPS and local growers Joe and Steve Muscat.