Integrating sustainable soil health practices into commercial vegetable production is required to reverse declines in soil health and maintain or improve the productivity and profitability of vegetable enterprises.

The project looked at “softer” soil management practices, such as reduced tillage, cover crops, compost and controlled traffic, at Mulyan Farms, Cowra NSW with leading vegetable growers Ed and James Fagan. Over the three years the project has contributed to two videos, two Technical Report, four farm walks, five factsheets and contributed content to three Facebook pages.

The trials at Mulyan Farms have provided commercial scale validation that “softer” soil management practices can be integrated into large-scale vegetable production. For example, all cover crops produced a more profitable spinach crop, compared to a traditional fallowed system. Increases in profitability of 36 and 48% were obtained following the legume cover crops of Morgan Field peas or Balansa clover, respectively.

The project has successfully demonstrated and communicated that combining cover cropping with controlled traffic and reduced tillage will allow for sustainable improvement to the soil condition which can maintain or improve yields, and reduce input costs.