The importance of fallowing as a best management practice has been widely recognised and embraced by growers. It is an important management tool not only for soil health, but also for pest and disease management.
Continual plough-out and replant contributes to the build-up of pests and disease, while the introduction of break crops helps to reduce stress on the next crop to be planted. Fallowing also allows farm blocks to be realigned or, if necessary, drainage works to be performed in the fallow period.
Benefits include: breaking the pest and disease cycle; helping to suppress weed growth; preventing soil erosion over the wet season; increasing soil biomass and organic matter; increasing nitrogen levels in soil; and improving soil structure.
A lot of growers have driven up Gerry Deguara’s driveway at his Eton farm near Mackay over the past few years wanting to see how he’s reinvigorated his profitability and productivity with his two adult sons. In the early days, some took the road to Kinchant Dam ready to scoff at Gerry’s ideas, but increasingly people are positive about what he, Sam and Joe are doing. “I don’t think anyone goes away critical any more but there used to be people who didn’t believe in compaction or that you needed to grow legumes or that chemicals went to the waterways,” Gerry says. The Deguara’s have an integrated farming philosophy across their 570 hectares and they’re happy to share it. Read more.
Gerry and his sons employ a range of farming methods to boost productivity and deliver environmental benefits. Implementing a fallow program, with soya beans planted in summer and chick peas in winter, is an important way of aiding soil health and putting nitrogen back into the ground ‘nature’s way’, according to the Deguara's. Gerry says when the economic and environmental drivers line up, the decision to make changes to their farming practices is easy. Watch more.