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Fertiliser Management

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$mart Soils works with farmers to demonstrate that there is an opportunity to decrease environmental impact while increasing economic efficiency and production. The program promotes best practise fertiliser management based on soil testing to maximise fertiliser use efficiency and to improve water quality throughout the Geographe Catchment.

80 farmers of the Geographe Catchment participated in the project which included comprehensive whole farm soil testing to get a paddock by paddock overview of the farm; samples were tested for phosphorus, potassium, pH and PBI (phosphorus buffering index). To assist farmers to easily identify where deficiencies occurred or where nutrients were sufficient, soil test results were displayed in colour coded nutrient maps. Farmers also had support from a GeoCatch officer and attended farmer workshops on best practice fertiliser management providing an opportunity to ask individual questions to specialists and to share experiences with other farmers.

 

Achievements
  • Engaged 80 farmers, totalling ~18,000 ha of land sampled across the Geographe Catchment over the two years.
  • Nine Workshops held in conjunction with local consultants with expertise in plant nutrition, agronomy and fertiliser management to provide participants in the program with the most current best practice fertiliser management information specific to the area and farming system.
  • Identified with farmers where improvements could be made in their farm management to help create a more sustainable agricultural industry.
  • GeoCatch with assistance from Department of Agriculture and Food, WA (DAFWA) has set up a mapping program to create farm maps and colour coded nutrient maps displaying soil testing results.

 

Funding and Partnerships

The program was funded through the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country Program.

GeoCatch worked working in collaboration with the DAFWA to ensure $mart Soils is consistent with the broader State Fertiliser Partnership and that the most current knowledge and technical information on fertiliser management is used.

 

Project Future
  • Follow up surveys and evaluation to determine if there has been a behaviour change towards best practise fertiliser management.
  • Support DAFWA to implement the Fertiliser Partnership Plan in the Geographe Catchment.
  • Investigate future opportunities for GeoCatch to be involved in rural fertiliser management.

Read more here: $mart Soils Case Study