Biochar is considered a potentially important soil additive in fighting climate change.
Biochar is considered a potentially important soil additive in fighting climate change.

Using your melon to fight climate change

THE Australian Melon Association has joined the fight against climate change, winning a major grant to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.

Led by the AMA, the Fruit Salad Project will bring together growers from the melon, blueberry and banana industries.

The project, worth a total of $1.42 million, will investigate the role of soil amendments, including biochar and compost, to increase soil carbon and reduce nitrous oxide emissions in melon, banana and blueberry enterprises.

Australian Melon Association chairman Mark Daunt said the industry was pleased to be involved in on-farm trials supporting research of such significance.

"We welcome the opportunity to take the lead with on-farm trials that have the potential to increase agricultural productivity as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

"Australian melon growers produce $250 million in product annually," Mr Daunt said. "Our industry is significant, as is our ability to effect positive change for the environment."

Demonstration trials will be conducted on farms in Bundaberg and Cowra, in New South Wales.

The Fruit Salad Project is part of a larger soils-based project supported by funding of $703,459 from the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture Action on the Ground program.

This project links NSW Department of Primary Industries with Southern Cross University, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Queensland and with industry leaders.

NSW DPI manager of R&D soils, Dr Georgina Kelly, said the projects were a great initiative, working with a range of industry and research collaborators to tackle an important production and environmental issues.

AMA chairman Mark Daunt agreed. The partnerships would be an important factor in the project's success, he said.

"By working together in this way, we can provide growers with the information they need, empowering them to maintain healthy and productive soils."

"This will have significant long term benefits, both at the individual farm level and for the environment more broadly," he said.

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