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Project:

October 7, 2016 gumption

South West Sustainable Agriculture

The South West Sustainable Agriculture project engages with agriculture and aquaculture / fisheries across the South West NRM Region to run trials and demonstrations that are focused on innovative and sustainable farming practices, particularly those associated with soil health.

The trials typically involve high levels of trial rigour, monitoring and analysis, while demonstrations typically concentrate on developing the capacity for individuals to adopt practices. Trials and Demonstrations are collaborative in nature and facilitate communication networks for stakeholders.

Complementary to trials and demonstrations, the project also responds to broader industry and community needs identified during the project by developing capacity building workshops for project partners and the wider community, and sharing more general but topical information about sustainable agriculture through social media.

There is also a significant focus on extending information through media releases, case studies, YouTube videos, technical reports,farmer stories and extension activities such as field days and knowledge building workshops.

Fifty-three farming entities have taken part in 33 sustainable agriculture trials and demonstrations across 1,553 hectares. These projects feature 106 partnerships between landholders, Landcare or grower groups, consultants, agronomists, industry bodies and research agencies.

Over the past year, 766 participants have attended 23 events held as part of the project, with the majority of these attendees being farmers. This includes the Talkin’ Soil Health Conference which was attended by 138 people over two days. The events also engaged 28 groups.

Fifteen YouTube videos have been produced, which together with previous productions, received more than 2,500 views over the year. Trial updates have been added to the Ag Trial Sites website, and twelve projects or events have made local, state or national news. The Farm Open twitter account has recently been established to promote sustainable agriculture news and events and distribute/store media releases.

These activities undertaken over 2015/16all contribute to the 3-year planned strategic project outcomes for sustainable agriculture for the South West.

“Thank you so much for organising the event today. Wayne and I gained a great deal from the day and hopefully we can now put into practice those valuable things that we learnt from our fellow farmers.”
Deb Torney, BoyaSprings Estate, commenting on a Perennial Pasture Farm Tour.
“The soil organic carbon percentage has increased under the 2011 Lebeckia sowings at the Quartermaine site. When first measured in 2014 after 34 months of growth the surface levels of organic carbon were considerably higher within the Lebeckia rows compared to areas where there was no establishment.”
Tom Edwards, Honour Student – Murdoch University.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

All trials and demonstrations will continue to be managed in collaboration with delivery partners and funding recipients.A further 24 events are planned to share the preliminary results of the trials in 2016/17.

An additional three trials are planned to commence in 2017, while six previously funded trials will conclude. Case studies about these will be developed for public distribution to farmers to assist in further building their skills and knowledge and to showcase lessons learned.

Information about the project will continue to be shared using a number of different platforms, including YouTube, New LEAF fact sheets, media releases, AgTrials site and the SWCC website, Twitter, Facebook, workshops and field days in order to maximise engagement.

FUN FACT

“People remember personal stories more than facts and figures.”, Peter Clifton, SWCC.

FUNDING RECIPIENTS

  • Western Dairy
  • Warren Catchments Council
  • Evergreen Farming
  • Southern DiRT
  • Manjimup Pasture Group
  • Bugs and Biology Growers
  • Blackwood Basin Group
  • G & L Page Family Trust
  • Global Pasture Consultants
  • Nisaja Nominees
  • Compass Agriculture
  • University of Western Australia
  • Marron Growers Association of Western Australia
  • Casotti Enterprises
  • Katanning Land Conservation District Committee
  • Wagin Woodanilling Landcare Zone
  • Shire of Dumbleyung
  • VJ & EA Carter
  • Kuser Singe Trust
  • Winterbrook Avocados
  • Intuit Earth
  • North Stirling Pallinup Natural Resources
  • TG & RC Browne
  • DE King & VJ Nix
  • Nyabing Farm Improvement Group
COMMITMENT
45 farming entities adopting sustainable practice change over 1,530ha
85%
ACHIEVEMENT
53 farming entities adopting sustainable practice change over 1,553ha
100%

COMMITMENT
15 events held
65%
ACHIEVEMENT
23 events held
100%

Project Manager

Danielle Short, Wendy Wilkinsand Peter Clifton

Key Partners