Grazing farmers across the Geographe catchment are being encouraged to take part in a soil testing program designed to support farmers make better fertiliser decisions.
The program involves soil testing, nutrient mapping, a farmer workshop and individual agronomic advice.
Over the past eight years nearly fifteen thousand samples from over 650 farms covering 160,000h of grazing land in the South West has been tested. The results show that on average farmers are using more phosphorous than needed for pasture growth. This not only affects the farmer’s bottom line but is an issue for the water quality of waterways and estuaries in the Geographe Catchment.
Farmers who join the program will receive subsidised access to soil testing across their whole farm, colour nutrient maps showing nutrient surpluses and deficiencies, information and advice at a local farmer workshop as well as agronomic advice from a Fertcare accredited advisor.
“Soil testing documented the extent of suspected acidity in my soils, an unexpected whole farm potassium deficiency, and adequate amounts of Nitrogen; enabling me to appropriately alter my fertiliser and lime orders just days before delivery,” said Arthur Harris who participated in the program last year.
On top of benefits on the farm, farmers who take part will be doing their bit to improve water quality in their local waterways.
With nutrient run-off from agricultural land representing the largest source of nutrients entering waterways in the Geographe Catchment, farmers can play a critical role in reducing nutrients to improve water quality.
GeoCatch project officer Breanne Brown will provide farmers with on ground support to get involved in the Soil Testing program.
‘This program is an excellent opportunity for local farmers to get involved in learning more about their soils and how to match their fertiliser applications accordingly’, said Ms Brown.
Livestock producers with more than 40 hectares of cleared arable land are encouraged to apply to participate in the 2017 soil testing project.
The soil testing program is part of Revitalising Geographe Waterways, an initiative to improve water quality, waterway health and management of Geographe waterways.
To register for the Revitalising Geographe Waterways Soil Testing project visit: https://geocatch.asn.au/funding-opportunities/fertiliser-management/
For more information contact GeoCatch Project Officer Breanne Brown on 97810 111.