Time to make better fertiliser choices

Over 150 grazing farmers got together across the south west and south coast during February to receive expert advice on improving their productivity, and bottom line, by keeping nutrients on the farm and out of waterways.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s (DWER) Fertiliser Management Program Coordinator, Kelly Lavell said the workshops held in Peel-Harvey, Leschenault, Vasse-Wonnerup, Oyster Harbour, Wilson Inlet and Hardy catchments was the accumulation of months of consulting, surveying, testing, analysing, and reporting.

“Farmers who took part in the Regional Estuaries Initiative fertiliser management program this year received their soil test results and farm mapping reports, and interpretation advice at the workshops.

“Hosted by our partner catchment groups and facilitated by representatives from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and local agronomists, the workshops covered the process of soil testing basics, equipment and analysis, how to interpret results, understanding limits and constraints and how to prepare fertiliser strategies.

“After receiving their reports, most people said they would be applying less phosphorus this season compared to last year,” said Kelly.

“The majority of attendees told us they found the workshops very useful and would recommend the soil testing program to others. Feedback included:

“Saves money, time, energy and great results.”
“Takes away the guess work”
“Helps be ahead of the game and saves $s.”
“I’d recommend the program for the economic value and environmental effects.”
“The program opens your eyes about what you have and what you need on your paddocks.”
“Bases your decisions on tests, not assumptions.”
“It’s a great way to understand your soils, look at where you can improve and what needs attention.”

“This year 90 per cent of farmers participating in the soil testing program were first timers. We believe this is an indication that word is getting out on both the economic and environmental benefits of regular soil testing on farms.

Expressions of interest to participate in the program will open in June 2018. For more information please contact DWER at estuary@dwer.wa.gov.au

(l-r): DPIRD’s David Weaver helps Neil Kentish and Helen Junk interpret their results at the Peel-Harvey workshop.

(l-r): Sue Palermo and Anne Marie Offer at the Leschenault workshop attended by an additional 27 farmers.

Sally Fox-Slater talks with DPIRD’s Rob Summers at the Vasse-Wonnerup soil testing workshop.

Local agronomist Graham Mussel on hand at the Oyster Harbour workshop attended by over 50 people.

Mount Barker farmer, Patrick Watkin, joined an additional 28 farnmers at the Wilson Inlet workshop.

A good turnout at the Hardy Inlet workshop held in the Alexandra Bridge Hall in Brockman.