Over thirty Geographe farmers packed into the Vasse Research Station last week to receive their results from this year’s soil testing program. The strong turnout showed farmers commitment to getting fertiliser applications right and to do their bit to improve water quality in Geographe waterways.
‘You can tell our farmers are aiming for continuous improvement on their farms when it comes to fertiliser use” said GeoCatch Project Officer Bree Brown. “We have had a lot of interest in the soil testing program and a great turnout today”
Forty farmers have been involved in GeoCatch’s soil testing project over the last two years that aims to improve fertiliser use by providing farmers with colour coded nutrient maps based on whole farm soil testing. “The workshop is an important part of the project” said Bree, “providing farmers with the knowledge to interpret their nutrient maps and soil testing results”.
The soil test results from this year showed that over 75% of paddocks tested across the catchment have sufficient levels of phosphorous. Many farmers were pleased to realise they didn’t need to apply more phosphorous this year to meet pasture requirements and production levels.
‘Our farm used to be a dairy farm, with plenty of phosphorus fertiliser added since then, so this year we will be looking at leaving off phosphorous and spending the money on lime to raise our low pH paddocks, said Treeton farmer and soil testing participant Nick Healy. “We will tissue test in spring to make sure the pasture is doing OK.’
Agronomist and workshop presenter Sam Taylor commented that it’s really important for each farmer to understand where they are starting from in terms of phosphorus levels in the soil. ‘Most farmers already have adequate levels of soil phosphorus on their farm, so adding more wastes money with no response from the pasture,’ said Mr Taylor.
The workshops also covered the importance of having the fertiliser spreader placing fertiliser in an even spread across the paddock. Local farmers will have the opportunity to attend an “Accu-spread” field day on March 22 to learn about calibrating their spreaders.
The soil testing project sits alongside the urban and garden programs being delivered by GeoCatch and project partners that aim to reduce nutrients entering our waterways and wetlands.
The soil testing was undertaken by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and is part of the larger Revitalising Geographe Waterways program.
Revitalising Geographe Waterways is a four year initiative that aims to improve water quality, waterway health and management of Geographe waterways. The Initiative is overseen by the Vasse Taskforce and is delivered through five action areas.
The RGW fertiliser management program partners farmers and industry groups with GeoCatch to reduce the nutrient run-off from farms to benefit both farmer’s productivity and water quality in Geographe Waterways.
For more information on Revitalising Geographe Waterways – Reducing Nutrients off the Farm projects visit: https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/reducing-nutrients/reducing-nutrients-off-farm/