Trialing recycled organics materials (compost) to improve soils in the beef industry – North Coast NSW

Mr Kelvin Langfield1

1North Coast Local Land Services, Lismore, Australia

The North Coast region has a subtropical climate and a diversity of soil types. The beef industry is a major contributor to the region’s economy and the single largest land use. There a number of circumstances where soils are likely to respond positively to the application of organic material and may potentially improve soil heath and structure by increasing soil organic matter.

This project combines market based analysis of the regional beef industry alongside trialing the application of source separated recycled organics material – compost. This will combine knowledge of the barriers and opportunities to the market for recycled organics with practical demonstrations of benefits of its use. This information will be targeted to expand the engagement of beef farmers to use recycled organics material as an option to improve soil health.

Beef cattle properties with a variety of scale, soil types and pasture species have been selected for the trial.  Each property will have a large scale twelve hectare site, with replicated plots comprising of various compost and fertiliser rates.  These sites will be part of the operating farm for the duration of the trial and will be managed inline with the current grazing regimes implemented by the land manager.

There is an opportunity for testing and promoting the use of compost in the beef grazing sector, particularly if the emphasis is on complementing existing soil improvement methods. There are a range of practical reasons to promote organic amendments in the beef grazing sector, e.g. to reduce reliance and costs of using ammonium based nitrogen fertilisers for pasture improvement.

The concept of improving soil health for the beef industry is to combine a number of different activities that complement each other to deliver comprehensive practical real world applications, is engaging for the farming community and informed by evidence.


I have 15 years’ experience in the Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity sector with a range of skills, knowledge and qualifications obtained throughout my career.  Assisting in the development of partnerships within the broader community and across relevant stakeholder groups, to maximise the efficiency of project development and assist in identifying synergies and efficiencies that can be achieved through integrated project delivery, particularly in the areas of soil management, erosion and conservation/regenerative agriculture.

Working in partnership with community organisations involved in a variety of Agricultural and NRM issues to help them build capacity though the development of extension materials and practical on-farm demonstrations.  This has increased community understanding of the factors required to improve soil health and the flow on benefits better soil management has on environmental issues, and the relationships to productivity and profitability

I have a genuine comprehension of the issues affecting rural and regional communities including climate variation and natural disasters and the range of support mechanisms available to assist communities to build capacity and manage for adverse events. Sound knowledge and experience in the sustainability of the environment and farming communities, having lived the majority of my life in rural and regional centres where agriculture is a primary industry and having a personal connection to the land.

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