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News

Striving for best practice nutrient management

21 December, 2016

Dairy effluent management

With over 10 years of dairy effluent management, GeoCatch is helping lead the new Dairycare effluent project in the Geographe catchment and beyond. Funding for effluent management projects has been provided through the Revitalising Geographe Waterways project in our catchment and also through the Regional Estuaries Initiative in Leschenualt and Hardy Inlet Catchments. This provides an excellent opportunity for GeoCatch to share learnings with our neighbours over the fence, while looking at improved and innovative ways to help our dairy farmers with effluent management.

A properly designed and managed effluent system allows dairy businesses to keep nutrients on the farm, protect water quality and reuse the nutrient to improve productivity. The Dairycare effluent project will help farmers in the catchment and across the South West to better manage effluent, reducing nutrient loss off dairy farms and improve water quality in regional estuaries.
The effluent system review carried out in the Geographe catchment last year has proved to be a good lead into the new Dairycare project. It is anticipated that farmers who participate in the project will be able to improve their benchmark in terms of effluent management and demonstrate their continuing efforts to be part of a sustainable industry.
Project officer Bree Brown has been supporting the Project Reference Group and effluent working group which has recently endorsed the funding criteria for the project. Expressions of interest are now being taken from farmers who would like to participate in the project.
Please contact Bree at GeoCatch on 9781 0111 if you would like more information on this project. Download a copy of the Dairycare effluent project flyer here. 

New farmers targeted for soil testing

GeoCatch has partnered with the Department of Agriculture and Food and farmers to improve fertiliser use in the Geographe catchment.  The $mart soils program provides farmers with subsidised soil testing, whole of farm colour nutrient maps and access to independent agronomic advice.  17 farmers have signed up for the 2017 season with soil testing being undertaken in January.  GeoCatch Project Officer Jenelle Schult has been out talking to participating farmers to survey their current fertiliser management decisions and how they are made.  “It has been great talking to the farmers” said Jenelle.  “They are really keen to be involved in the project and do their bit in improving water quality”.  The program aims to benefit both Geographe  waterways and farmers by ensuring fertiliser and profits stay on the farm.  Nutrient loss from beef and dairy grazing are the largest sources of nutrients to Geographe Bay and the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands.  “What I really like about this project” said Jenelle “is that by working with farmers we can make a real difference to nutrient loss off farm, saving the farmers money and saving our waterways”.  For further information on the $mart soils fertiliser management project please contact Jenelle Schult at GeoCatch on 9781 0111.

Fertiliser project to be Fertcare accredited

To increase farmer and fertiliser advisor confidence in the soil testing and mapping program, the soil sampling, analysis and mapping methods will be audited against Fertcare standards, providing a nationally recognised accreditation.
Agronomists who will be employed to provide agronomic advice for farms involved in the fertiliser project will also be required to complete Fertcare Accredited Advisor training to be delivered in February 2017 through a joint collaboration with the Regional Estuaries Initiative.