Fertiliser trials that aim to improve confidence in fertiliser recommendations for local soils and conditions are underway in the Lower Blackwood Catchment. A desired outcome of the trials is increased uptake of evidence-based fertiliser application that optimises production whilst reducing excess run off of nutrients into waterways and estuaries.
The major aspect of the trials will be to test different levels of phosphorus application to optimise production and minimise runoff . Some trials will also include evaluation of innovative technology to measure pasture productivity and soil nutrient status (such as nearinfrared and x-ray fluorescence)
Trials were established over three growing seasons – in early 2019 and 2020 and were monitored by scientists and agronomists on a Technical Reference Group with local advisors and host farmers. The Lower Blackwood LCDC provides a point of contact between scientists and farmers.
Further trials will take place over the next two years, with the aim being to extend the trials findings to the wider farming community.
A better understanding of the fertiliser science means I am now more confident to leave off phosphorus if my soil tests show there is sufficient and apply other nutrients if needed.Scott River Farmer Andrew McNab
The project is funded with $3.26 million from the State Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA program (formerly Regional Estuaries Initiative); and $2.35 million through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and is delivered in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the grazing and fertiliser industry and catchment groups.