Farmers and waterways set to benefit from latest soil testing opportunity

Expressions of Interest are now open to take part in a soil testing program designed to support farmers make better fertiliser decisions.

Grazing farmers who join the program will receive subsidised access to soil testing across their whole farm, pasture tissue testing, colour nutrient maps showing nutrient surpluses and deficiencies, information and advice at a local farmer workshop as well as agronomic advice from a Fertcare accredited advisor.

On top of this farmers who take part will be doing their bit to improve water quality in their local waterways and estuaries.

Mick Haines, Beef producer from south east Benger who was involved in the soil testing program in 2016 said “Our soil test has helped us save so much money already. From what we believed our farm needed before we had the soil test done to what it actually needs means thousands of dollars yearly in savings and the catchment council have been easy to deal with and super helpful the entire process”.

Over the past eight years nearly fifteen thousand samples from over 650 farms covering 160,000h of grazing land has been tested. The results show on average farmers are using more phosphorous than needed for pasture growth. This not only affects the farmer’s bottom line but is an issue for the water quality of waterways and estuaries in the South of the state.

With nutrient run-off from agricultural land representing the largest source of nutrients entering estuaries in South West WA, farmers can play a critical role in reducing nutrients to improve water quality.

Catchment Councils will provide farmers in the region with on ground support to get involved in the Soil Testing program.

Leschenault Catchment Council Project Officer Julie Palmer said “The soil testing we’ve already done shows that phosphorous levels are actually so high in some paddocks that farmers are now being encouraged to start a rundown phase to reduce these levels. This needs to be done in consultation with regular soil testing to monitor progress.”

Graziers located in the Peel-Harvey, Leschenault, Vasse-Wonnerup and Geographe, Hardy Inlet, Wilson Inlet and Oyster Harbour catchments with more than 40 hectares of cleared arable land are encouraged to apply to participate in the 2017 soil testing program.

This four-year program is part of the State Government’s Regional Estuaries Initiative.

Led by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation with the help of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, local catchment councils will provide farmers with on ground support.

For more information contact Julie Palmer, LCC Project Officer on 9791 4773 or email [email protected]

To register your interest please go to

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