The Fertiliser Best Practice project (2016 – 2019) worked with farmers to decrease environmental impact from fertiliser use while increasing economic efficiency and production.
The program promotes soil and tissue testing to maximise fertiliser use efficiency by matching the nutrient needs of the soil to production targets on the farm. The program aims to improve water quality in the Geographe Bay Catchment by reducing export of nutrients off farming land.
Eighty farmers have participated in the program, which included comprehensive whole-farm soil testing on every paddock, with testing for phosphorus (P), potassium (K), pH, sulphur and phosphorus buffering index (PBI). To assist farmers to easily identify where deficiencies occurred of where nutrients were sufficient, soil test results were displayed on colour-coded nutrient maps. Farmers attended an annual workshop to assist with interpreting their test results and could access agronomic support to assist with fertiliser planning. Ten farms were selected and supported as case studies to identify whether extra support helped farmers implement changes to their fertiliser use.
The project is delivered in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, and is part of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways program.