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 between stakeholders.
Complementary to trials and demonstrations, the project also responds to broader industry and community needs identified during the project by implementing capacity building workshops for project partners and the wider community, and sharing more general but topical information about sustainable agriculture through social media and e-newsletters.
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.
This year, 53 farming entities have taken part in 33 sustainable agriculture trials and demonstrations across 1447.50ha hectares. These projects feature 106 partnerships between landholders, Landcare or grower groups, consultants, agronomists, industry bodies and research agencies.
Over the past year, 691 participants have attended 18 events held as part of the project, with the majority of these attendees being farmers. This included the Balingup Field Day, Wagin Woolorama, Wagin Pasture Updates and field days focussing on soil health.
The Sustainable Agriculture program has been very active in building the capacity of farmers to implement productive and sustainable practices on their farm.
Five articles pertaining to SWCC projects were published in farming publications with state-wide distribution. Another article was published in Landcare in Focus and five other articles were posted to the SWCC website.
Followers of our @Open_Farm Twitter account grew from 87 to 415. More than 400 tweets were posted throughout the year resulting in 580 URL clicks. The account also retweeted other tweets over 400 times.
The SWAg is a fortnightly e-newsletter that has a distribution list of approximately 320 people. The e-newsletter combines updates on projects, information on local events and news and facts from around the world on relevant research trials and demonstration. This has been a very successful tool for sharing knowledge and capacity building.
Seven projects were successfully completed in 2016/17 with final reports, flyers and case studies being published to share progress and lessons learnt with other farmers.
“A farm includes the passion of the farmer’s heart, the interest of the farm’s customers, the biological activity of the soil, the pleasantness of the air about the farm – it’s everything touching, emanating from, and supplying that piece of landscape. A farm is virtually a living organism.”
“Already being involved in the trial, I can see benefits. Doing the monitoring I am having a closer look at the trees and understanding the issues.”
“Feedback from farmers was invaluable. Theory is good but practical applications are most beneficial.”
Paul O’Reilly after attending a SWCC facilitated event
As the investment period is drawing to a close, the majority of the Sustainable Agriculture projects conclude in December 2017 after harvest and yield data is obtained.
A further 12 events are planned to share the results of these trials in 2017/18, including final project results being showcased at the 2018 Wagin Woolorama and the Talkin’ Soil Health 2018 conference.
Project Officers are working with partners to collate data and compile project reports, case studies and public documents to share with other farmers what was learnt during the projects. They are also continuing to build partnerships to ensure that the public benefit from projects is maximised.
Information about the project will continue to be shared using a number of different platforms, including YouTube, media releases, the AgTrials and SWCC websites, Twitter, Facebook, workshops and field days in order to maximise engagement.
Australian farmers are environmental stewards, owning, managing and caring for 61 percent of Australia’s land mass.
- 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
- North Stirling Pallinup Natural Resources
- TG & RC Browne
- DE King & VJ Nix
- Nyabing Farm Improvement Group
45 farming entities adopting sustainable practice change over 1530 ha.
53 farming entities adopting sustainable practice change over 1447.50 ha
15 extension activities
Facilitated, supported or partnered in 18 events with over 691 people in attendance
Danielle Short, Wendy Wilkins and Peter Clifton