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Soil Science Conference – Soil Diversity

The importance of soil to New Zealand’s economy is the key theme for the 2018 New Zealand Soil Science Society conference in Napier next week.

The conference in the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre from 3-6 December will bring together soil science experts from New Zealand and from around the world. Universities, regional councils and organisations including Manaaki Whenua- Landcare Research, Plant and Food Research and Ag Research will be in attendance to share a wide range of knowledge and research about our soils.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is one of the major sponsors of the conference. The Society is also assisting soil science students to attend.

The main topics are ‘Our Land and Water - National Science Challenge’, ‘Soil carbon’ and ‘Soil contamination, degradation and remediation’. 

Celebrity chef Annabel Langbein is a keynote speaker who will speak on “Soil matters”.  Other key note speakers are Andrew Waterhouse from the University of California and Mark Shepherd of AgResearch who will talk about the science behind ‘terroir’, which is how a region’s climate, soils and terrain affect the taste of wine and food. 

Hawke’s Bay farmers Greg and Rachel Hart will present at the conference, speaking on the regenerative agriculture approach they have taken at Mangarara Station and why ‘every bite counts’. The focus of regenerative agriculture is on building soils, restoring watercourses and encouraging biodiversity, while reducing dependency on outside inputs, improving livestock health and increasing farm yields and profitability.

During the conference there will be three field trips – one to look at productive landscapes on the plains, a second looking at Hawke’s Bay’s spectacular soils, and a third looking at regenerative farming and the influence of soils on wine making.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive, James Palmer says “Soils are essential to New Zealand’s farms, orchards, vineyards and cropping land and ultimately our regional economy.  Soil is a precious but finite resource that we need to look after. Keeping the soil on the land and out of waterways is a big focus for our 

5 December 2018

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