The Soil Wealth ICP team is excited to work with grower Kevin Hoang in Marrakai on a newly established demonstration site in the Northern Territory.

Kevin is eager to get more out of his land where he grows Asian melons and okra.

Prior to partaking in the Soil Wealth ICP demonstration site trial, Kevin had never used cover crops. Paddocks were always left fallow during the wet season, with weeds being slashed before going to seed and then ploughed in, with rotation and good quality seeds his only measures against fusarium.

In this newly established demonstration site, biofumigation and break crops were planted earlier this year to improve soil organic matter levels and suppress fusarium.

In April 2024, cover crop expert Dr Kelvin Montagu visited the site to check on progress. Despite delays in planting the cover crop due to the weather, which made access to the paddock extremely difficult for an extended period, the sunn hemp and sorghum have grown well, and have now been slashed to prepare the paddock for the cash crop being grown in the dry season.

During the dry season the Soil Wealth ICP team will collect soil samples to understand the evolution of microbiology and organic matter in the soil after the cover crop. Following the cash crop, the team will replant another cover crop over the next wet season. The trial will be repeated to observe the long-term effects of adopting cover crops as part of the rotation in the tropical Darwin area.

Image: Grower Kevin Hoang and Dr Kelvin Montagu under a long melon trellis with a sunn hemp and sorghum cover crop on April 15 2024 (image supplied by Mariah Maughan, NT Farmers).