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Award-winning uPtake partnership project celebrated in the regions

  • Completion of four-year trial to improve on-farm nutrient use marked at regional events
  • 52 fertiliser trials on 36 farms across south-west Western Australia
  • Increased farmer and industry confidence in the science behind phosphorus fertiliser recommendations

Celebrations have been held in the Ferguson Valley and Albany, following four years of phosphorus trials to improve nutrient use efficiency on farms in south west Western Australia.

More than 80 guests attended the two regional events where the final results of the uPtake project were presented, alongside a summary video and Q&A panel with scientists, industry and farmer representatives.

The uPtake project was developed in response to questions from the grazing and fertiliser industries, on the relevance of national data underpinning phosphorus fertiliser recommendations.

The project implemented 52 fertiliser trials on 36 farms across south-west WA with more than 1,000 farmers and industry representatives attending field days and other events.

Soil testing programs show that more than 70 per cent of grazing paddocks in south-west WA have more phosphorus than needed for desired pasture production.

Improving on-farm nutrient use also supports the health of our important waterways – as nearly 70 per cent of nutrients entering regional estuaries are from grazing farms.

The uPtake project has increased farmer and industry confidence in the science behind phosphorus fertiliser. It has also been the recipient of two national awards – an Australian Water Association Award for research and development excellence in 2021 and a Fertiliser Industry environmental award in 2022.

The State Government’s work alongside industry, to support implementation of best practice on-farm nutrient management, will continue through initiatives including Healthy Estuaries WA.

uPtake was jointly funded through the State Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

A copy of the uPtake video and results from the trials can be found at

Comments attributed to Water Minister Simone McGurk: 

“I want to acknowledge the contribution of the many farmers and catchment groups who have worked together to design and implement the uPtake project alongside Government scientists.

“Industry’s contribution has been critical to the project’s success in building confidence around soil testing recommendations.

“This project is a great example of how teamwork can deliver solutions to complex problems, like improving water quality in our estuaries.

“I’m pleased to see this important work will continue through other State Government initiatives including Healthy Estuaries WA.”

Comments attributed to Agriculture Minister Jackie Jarvis:

“This project has given livestock farmers a better understanding of the nutrient requirements of their land, ensuring the more efficient use of fertiliser on-farm, without productivity losses, while reducing nutrient loss to waterways.”

“Reducing the amount of nutrients entering regional estuaries from grazing properties is not only good for the environment, but also supports improved profitability for farms.”

Comments attributed to Member for Warren-Blackwood Jane Kelsbie: 

“Agriculture has a critical role in protecting our regional estuaries and the uPtake project demonstrated that farmers can confidently reduce the amount of phosphorus applied on many paddocks without reducing productivity, which is a win for farmers and the environment.

“Our estuaries and waterways in south-west WA are critically important to our communities, and it is wonderful to see how the agriculture sector is contributing to protecting these precious environmental assets.”

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