Soya crops save farmers $1m
By JULIA ILES
SOYA beans are saving North Coast farmers more than $1 million dollars per year, it has been revealed.
Grafton Department of Primary Industries research agronomist, Dr Natalie Moore, said after a soya bean crop was harvested, it left 120 kilograms of nitrogen in the soil per hectare, eliminating the need for synthetic nitrogen.
Dr Moore will now work on a new project aimed at finding a winter grain crop to complement the summer soya bean crop.
"We are testing varieties of barley and triticale (a mixture of wheat and cereal rye)," Dr Moore said.
"The soya bean crop adds the nitrogen while the winter grain sucks it up."
The project, which starts in June, is funded through the the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
Dr Moore will complete field trials to be followed by a major field day, along with a report for North Coast grain growers.
She will also study adapted varieties of soya beans to improve amounts of nitrogen in soils.
"The North Coast is the biggest soya bean growing area in Australia and it's because of the environment, we are lucky enough to have enough rainfall to sustain the crops," Dr Moore said.
She said soya bean crops could be applied to a range of farming systems including sugar cane, beef, grazing and dairy.
On July 20 three leading soil and crop nutrition specialists will speak at the Grains Research Update semi- nar at the RSM Club in Casino.