SFI has a number of Certified Advisors located throughout Australia. These people are able to advice on the range of services available from SFI. They run their own businesses and provide additional services accordingly. SFI certified advisors hold the SFI "Tick of Approval" (TOA). The TOA program defines a level of quality, based upon leading scientific research into soil function, which is superior to standing conventional regulations governing agricultural inputs and their management. The program enables agronomists, consultants and manufacturers to gain an understanding and achieve a level of competence in proven SFI practices designed to build and maintain a healthy soil food web.
SFI have just appointed a new Certified Advisor in Victoria. He is Stuart Proud, and he has been involved in the viticulture industry for over 15 years, and in the last 7 years Stuart has focussed on biological and organic production systems. He has a wide range of practical, technical and managerial experience and has successfully implemented SFI principles and practices into commercial properties.
The April/May 2009 edition of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine contained some words on Stuart, including the following: "Growing up in South Australia, and educated by Adelaide’s wine-loving Jesuits, it’s not surprising that Stuart Proud found a career in viticulture, but it may be a little perplexing to hear he’d happily give it all away to go surfing. Having managed De Bortoli’s Yarra Valley vineyards, Proud now runs his own viticultural consultancy business. Unless the surf is up."
But the best quote from the article came when Stuart was asked to nominate the best wine book: "The Soil and Foliar Foodweb by Dr Elaine Ingham. It’s all about soil and plant health because, as everyone knows, the best wines are made in the vineyard."
Read more from Gourmet Traveller at http://gourmettraveller.com.au/best-of-everything.htm?rcid=5508&mode=rcid
We covered Stuart's activities in building soil biology in an article last year and some of Stuart's comments are worth repeating here. “Having worked in various vineyards and managed large properties myself, I never used to think twice about applying hi-analysis NPK fertilisers. The vines responded quickly and plant sap tests indicated the vines were taking up the nutrients. Using synthetic chemicals to control pests, diseases and weeds was standard practice and having a neat, tidy and weed free vineyard was a sign that you were a good manager.
However several years ago I began to wonder why pests and diseases would come back every year, no matter how many chemical applications were applied. And why did the weeds persist even when pre-emergent and systemic herbicides were sprayed multiple times through the year?
As I have learnt over the last few years, it’s all about getting the biology right at the ground level. Once the soil is improved the plants become healthier – ‘Build it and they will come’”
SFI currently has a number of Certified Advisors in Victoria and others in NSW and Queensland. We are seeking to expand our coverage more widely in NSW and Queensland and to spread to the remaining Australian states.
See the full list of SFI Certified Advisors at http://www.soilfoodweb.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=84&Itemid=116 or access it by clicking on the link on the left-hand side of the SFI Australia homepage.