Major General, Governor General & passionate soil innovation advocate The Honourable Michael Jeffrey opens international soil conference in Ballarat, Victoria.
The 3rd International Controlled Traffic Farming Conference (CTF) is underway at Federation University in Ballarat.
This international conference has brought together crop producers, agriculturalists, agronomists, and experts in implementation of innovative science driven land management systems from Australia, North & South America, Europe & Africa.
Soil degradation is a problem affecting food and fibre production across the world. Heavy farm machinery has been shown to degrade topsoil and subsoil by compaction. This results in a compromised soil system that’s less productive and less resilient against key global climate challenges from drought to floods.
Innovative techniques such as Controlled Traffic Farming aim to minimise the deleterious effects of soil compaction.
Major General Michael Jeffrey AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (retd) addressed delegates as a passionate soil advocate and founder of the “Soils for Life” program which aims to act as a catalyst for change in this space, saying: “A healthy soil is the key to sustainable agriculture and is fundamental to national and planetary survival.
“Soils help to regulate the Earth’s climate and has the capacity to store more CO2 than all of the world’s forests combined.
“Well-managed Australian agricultural landscape has the potential to sequest as much CO2 in the soil as is emitted by all of industry, and in the process could meet our Paris Accord requirements.
This year, as Australia’s National Advocate for Soil Health, General Jeffery presented his paper Restore the Soil: Prosper the Nation to both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. “We need the widest possible adoption of regenerative landscape management practices across rural, remote and urban environments to ensure our future food security.”
Chris Bluett, Chairman of the Australian Controlled Traffic Farming Association, and convener of this important conference said: “Sharing of knowledge and experiences of the adoption of CTF management systems is the link between soil health and food productivity.
“Innovative farm practice studies and testing of new and emerging technologies in associated with CTF management systems is key to Australia’s food production future.
“People have been living and producing their food around Ballarat for thousands of years – it is fitting that we gather here in discussions on management practises that support its future”.
A range of agribusiness’ supporting the CTF system are also in attendance at the conference. David Naughton, of Harvest Agricultural Tyres, said: “We support the innovative thinking and knowledge that CTF processes bring to Australian Farmers to build a productive food industry.
“The problem of stressed soil after machinery passages are becoming an increased issue for farmers.
“Our role in the mix is to engineer tyres locally in Australia to support the objectives of soil compaction reduction.
“We’ve engineered our agricultural tyres to address specific problems that Australian farmers face every day – including soil compaction, & to ultimately to tread lighter on Australian soils”
The 3rdInternational Controlled Traffic Farming Conference is being held at Federation University in Ballarat 13-14 February 2019
Additional photos of the event and speakers are also available on request