Reducing Barriers to Transitioning to Regenerative Agricultural Practices in Low Rainfall Zones, a project funded through the National Landcare Program Smart Farms Small Grants Round 3 was a multi-plot replicate trial to test the ‘30% rule’.
The 30% rule was a suggested means of transitioning from full conventional crop inputs to regenerative practices by substituting 30% of the usual fertiliser mix with an organic soil improver. There were clear assumptions that there would be a yield deficit, but it was hoped that the transition would – at least over time – offer a means of maintaining farm viability through a positive Return on Investment, while incrementally improving soil health.
One of the limitations of this trial was that it was only over one year, and clearly more research needs to be done, but, despite what the researcher concludes in their technical report, I believe there is reason for optimism.
Taking into account a few key pieces of data, and sorting by yield, we can see that there are three transitional treatments:
- T12 High Conventional Inputs plus 30% Verigrow,
- T14 High Conventional Inputs plus 30% Nutri-Tech, and
- T11 Low Conventional Inputs plus 30% Liquid Worm Casting
that produced and ROI over input costs, and a yield of over 6-t/ha, which is above the Control yield.
|Treatment||Yeild MT/Ha||Input $/ha||Farm Gate Return|
|2 HC||7.58||$ 270.00||$ 525.00|
|12 HC+Veri||7.33||$ 275.00||$ 450.00|
|14 HC+Nutri||7.26||$ 275.00||$ 410.00|
|10 HC+Worm||6.77||$ 275.00||$ 250.00|
|11 LC+Worm||6.04||$ 110.00||$ 150.00|
|1 Control||5.85||$ 190.00|
|13 LC+Veri||5.81||$ 110.00||$ 50.00|
|3 LC||5.77||$ 100.00||$ 50.00|
|15 LC+Nutri||5.50||$ 115.00||-$ 75.00|
|4 Worm 1||5.10||$ 10.00||-$ 100.00|
|6 Veri 1||5.01||$ 10.00||-$ 125.00|
|7 Veri 2||5.00||$ 15.00||-$ 150.00|
|5 Worm 2||4.90||$ 15.00||-$ 175.00|
|9 Nutri 2||4.77||$ 20.00||-$ 225.00|
|8 Nutri 1||4.51||$ 15.00||-$ 310.00|
Clearly, more research needs to be done, and additional trials and paddock-scale experimentation over multiple years would offer the greatest benefit and clearest results.
You can download the full technical report by clicking on the links below.
Many thanks to our partners on this project, Southern Dirt and Trial Co. and our funder Australian Government National Landcare Program
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