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Bumper crowd turns out for final field day

A bumper crowd of more than 60 turned out to the final field day for the Greater Sydney Local Land Services Next Generation Compost Trial at Richmond last week.

The event marked the end of the project which aimed to highlight the benefits of recycled organics in horticulture.

Greater Sydney Land Services Manager Bill Dixon said the project had included planting, monitoring and harvesting dozens of variety vegetable trials, grown with different blends of compost and traditional fertilisers.

“We’ve easily seen more than 150 people through our farm doors for the various events around this project since it began last year. It really makes a difference being able to bring growers and industry together to see the crops in a neutral setting,” Mr Dixon said.

Plant nutritionist Dr Geoff Cresswell said the most effective crop treatment in the project trials had been Next Gen compost blended with slow release fertiliser.

“We found the Next Gen crops had improved root health and structure, less nutrient leaching and better soil biology balance compared to the other trial blends,” Dr Creswell said. “There is strong evidence the benefits of compost use for overall soil health and crop yield are long term.”

As part of the project the University of Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures (UTS:ISF) conducted research into consumer interest and demand for compost grown veggies.

UTS:ISF Associate Professor and Research Director Dr Brent Jacobs said there was genuine interest from both growers and the community in the potential of recycled organics.

“Our research showed a general belief that compost grown vegies were better for overall soil health and the environment,” he said. “Importantly, more than half of the consumers surveyed considered compost use extremely important which shows there is a genuine demand out there.”

Mr Dixon said Greater Sydney Local Land Services would continue to work with growers and industry to determine the top priorities for agriculture in the region.

“The Sydney region is home to a third of all veggies grown throughout the state and we will keep working to support this important industry and provide it with new opportunities,” he said.

ENDS

Media contact: Nikki McGrath (02) 4724 2138 M: 0448 953 755