Over 40 guests attended a Carbon dinner held in Foster on Saturday night. The guests were gratified to find the carbon was the topic for the dinner table discussion, not part of the excellent meal provided by the Golf Club. Dinner guests came from all over the Landcare network, keen to enjoy interesting dinner table conversation with friends old and new.
Three scientists joined in; Robert Edis and Tom Hill from the University of Melbourne's School of Land and Environment, and Jess Horton from the Department of Primary Industry at Ellinbank, to discuss carbon and soils. We found out about how carbon is incorporated in to soil structure, and how a soil that contains the right mix of the right forms of carbon gives the best agricultural performance. With science the focus of the dinner, there was plenty of discussion about charged particles, humic acid, and cation exchange. Tom, a microbiologist, entertained diners with his comparison of soil to the dessert of chocolate mousse, and was expansive in his explanations of soil flora; a highly entertaining guest. Jess chatted to her table; explaining how agricultural scientists were directing current research.
As with all good dinners, table discussions took unexpected turns and directions, but guests came away from the dinner with a greater understanding of the dynamics of soil carbon and soil microbiology.