The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) is leading a research project to measure the biological impacts and economic benefits of bio-fumigation to Tasmanian vegetable farmers.
Bio-fumigation is the use of specialised green manure crops which are grown, mulched and incorporated into the soil before the planting of the next crop in order to suppress soil-borne pests, diseases and weeds.
The Vegetable Productivity Partnership is funded by the Tasmanian Government and was officially launched at TIA’s Forthside Vegetable Research Facility today by the Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jeremy Rockliff MP.
The project led by TIA plant pathologist Dr Robert Tegg aims to increase understanding and awareness of bio-fumigant crops and enable farmers to make decisions supported by data relevant to Tasmanian conditions.
“The project is one of the ways TIA is supporting a prosperous, innovative and sustainable agriculture and food industry in Tasmania,” Dr Tegg said.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests bio-fumigant crops enhance crop production and soil health but there has been little scientific research undertaken in Tasmania to date.
“The project will be run over three growing seasons at TIA’s Forthside Vegetable Research Facility. A range of data will be analysed as part of the project, including harvest yields, establishment and management costs for a range of crop types, soil pathogens and microbial communities, physical and chemical soil properties, and weed density.
“Many potato growers are already including bio-fumigants in their rotations and the data collected as part of this project will enable growers to have an informed perspective on the correct use of bio-fumigant crops which may lead to increased productivity and profitability.”
Project stakeholders include Tasmanian potato processing companies McCain and Simplot and agri-service provider Serve-Ag.
TIA is a joint venture between the Tasmanian Government and the University of Tasmania.