Leading the way in fertiliser management

National experts in the fertiliser industry visited Western Australia recently to share their nutrient management knowledge with local agriculture representatives.

Dr Deborah Holtham, Sustainable Agriculture Project Coordinator at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), said a series of events in Busselton provided the opportunity for stakeholders to come together and learn about best practices in fertiliser management.

“Leaders in our local agriculture industry including farmers, agronomists, catchment groups, fertiliser companies and government organisations are working together to optimise fertiliser use, which benefits our waterways as well as farmers’ bottom lines. This is especially relevant for farmers given the increasingly high cost of fertiliser,” said Deborah.

Dr Kath Lynch, DWER’s Geographe Capes District Manager, added: “These events are very important to foster collaboration and adoption of evidence-based management practices. They provide fantastic opportunities for all stakeholders involved in the industry to hear about the latest research and continue collaboration on projects.” 

The events, hosted by DWER and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), included an industry workshop, a multi-stakeholder fertiliser management forum, and a nutrient management planning training workshop with Fertilizer Australia for agronomists and advisors who work with dairy farmers.

Dr Cameron Gourley, an industry expert from Victoria, commended those who attended on their proactiveness in fertiliser management.

“The programs of work the departments and partners are leading are highly innovative, supported by excellent scientific leadership and endeavours, and with a foundation of practicality and collaboration. Much can be learnt and copied from this work at a national level,” said Cameron.

The full-day fertiliser forum included presentations on topics include nutrient management planning, soil sampling, nutrient cycling and use efficiency, risk assessments, and emissions from nutrient management.

The training day for agronomists upskilled advisors on nutrient management planning for dairy farms, and included interactive sessions and tools.

Alongside the events was the launch of a new resource for farmers, the Nutrient Best Management Practices for beef, sheep and dairy grazing enterprises in south-west Western Australia.  

The events were supported by Healthy Estuaries WA and Revitalising Geographe Waterways – State Government initiatives which support the long-term health of our south-west estuaries.

The events were also supported by uPtake, which is jointly funded through Healthy Estuaries WA and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program; and Soil Wise, which is funded by the National Landcare Program Smart Farms Small Grants, an Australian Government initiative.