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Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

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Project name A scientific trial to measure the in-paddock and economic benefits of bio-fumigation on soil health, and on disease pest and weed levels on a range of annual crops under Tasmanian conditions
Funding bodies Tasmanian Government
Chief Investigators Dr Robert Tegg
Contributors McCain, Simplot, Serve-Ag

The biofumigation project is looking at the potential benefits that farmers can gain from using biofumigant crops in rotational vegetable systems, in particular for potato growers. It will provide farmers with data relevant to Tasmanian conditions and enable them to make informed decisions.

TIA Research Fellow, Dr Robert Tegg, said many potato growers were already including biofumigants and anecdotal evidence suggested a link with enhanced crop production and soil health, although little scientific research had been undertaken in Tasmania to date.

The project will 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.

What is biofumigation? Bio-fumigation is the use of specialised green manure crops (such as broccoli) 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.

Find out more Dr Tegg talks about the project in this video.