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Evaluating 2015 International Year of Soils

By Neville Passmore



When the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation set out to make 2015 the International Year of Soils it was in response to a perceived worldwide crisis.  It was about unprecedented soil degradation and a looming collision between the need to increase food production and the declining fertility and capacity of the world’s soils to do the job.

C-Wise is celebrating World Soil Day on December 4th with a soil expo complete with technical talks, facility tours and problem solving displays.  Sabrina Hahn of radio and newspaper fame together with Chris Ferrara director of the Forever Project will launch the event and also to offer help and advice through workshop sessions.

World Soil Day marks the end of the International Year of Soils so it is appropriate to see what has been achieved over the course of the last 12 months.

The Food and Agriculture organization is releasing a new report on the state of the world’s soils on this final day. It points to a rapid increase in scientific data about soils, which is an essential requirement if we are to manage this resource more successfully.

The level of awareness on the role of soils has undoubtedly increased in the last year and there has been numerous soil health events in WA.

C-Wise vision is to live in a world where soil carbon is valued.  The declaration by the FAO of “2015 International Year of Soils” provided a vehicle to get positive soil carbon messages out to the public and to industry as well as local government.

Some of the highlights of this campaign included presentations made to conferences in WA.  Company director Dave Cullen spoke to the NRM conference and our CEO, Craig Salt at the Fertiliser Industry conference.

C-Wise also conducted a Soil Health Seminar for the vineyard industry held at Voyager Estate in Margaret River, which gathered famous vineyards in the region such as Vasse Felix or Stella Bella.

I gave numerous talks on the link of soil health and the end-products, to the Cancer Council of WA, Advanced Earth Carers of Mindarie, Nannup Flower and Garden Festival, Equine Natural Resources Management Group Serpentine Jarradale, Greening Australia in Newman and The Serpentine Jarradale Farm to Food group.

Nambeelup facility site tours were conducted for delegates of Fertiliser conference 2015, Victorian compost producers and Australian Organic Recyclers Association (AORA), Soil Science Institute of Australia and the Serpentine Jarradale Equine group.

There are four different types of carbon:

  • Living plants
  • Currently decomposing
  • Humus
  • Inert

A healthy soil with a high level of soil organic carbon (around 5%) will:

1.         Sequester the carbon from the atmosphere.

2.         Regenerate our soils to produce food for a growing population.

3.         Add minor nutrients back to our food to improve its nutritional value.

4.         Improve farmers’ profitability.

Are you prepared to test your knowledge on soils?