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Farmers get hands-on with fertiliser spreaders

Farmers in the Geographe Catchment gained a better understanding of the accuracy of their fertiliser spreaders at an Accuspread field day held last week.

A properly tested and calibrated spreader has is beneficial for better productivity and healthier waterways GeoCatch worked with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to bring together groups of local farmers keen to access to expert advice on improving their productivity, and financial bottom line, by keeping nutrients on the farm and out of waterways.

Leading Accuspread trainer Russell Nicol demonstrated how to test and calibrate fertiliser spreading equipment at a free workshop hosted by the McSwain dairy farm in Busselton.

Farmers brought their fertiliser spreaders along  to be tested for spreading accuracy and talked through the calibration process to allow a more even spread of fertiliser on the paddock.

“It’s critical that nutrients are applied at the right rate in the right place,” said GeoCatch project officer Bree Brown. “The Accuspread field day was a really good opportunity for farmers to test how well their fertiliser spreaders are doing to optimise a pasture response, save money and keep waterways healthy.”

Ross Prater, who runs beef on his Chapman Hill property and is a GeoCatch Case Study Farm, was pleased to learn his Marshall spreader had quite an even distribution pattern.

“We have been soil testing and receiving agronomic advice through GeoCatch’s soil testing program, so checking that our spreader is doing what it is meant to do is another way to make sure we are being as efficient with our fertiliser as possible, said Ross.”

Western Dairy were pleased to see young dairy farmers putting up their hands to host and attend the field days.

“At every turn we encourage our dairy farms to tweak the elements of their business to increase efficiency and productivity, and getting a more even and responsive spread to fertiliser is another example of how to do this,” said Western Dairy Chair Grant Evans.

“But our message is not just about being more astute with your fertiliser spend, it’s also an opportunity to think about our responsibility as farmers to keep fertiliser out of the waterways,” said Mr Evans.

Link to Department of Water and Environmental Regulation website – http://www.water.wa.gov.au/news/news-items/industry-put-hands-up-for-waterway-health.

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