Lower Blackwood farmers join soil testing program

Farmers in the Lower Blackwood catchment are signing up to join more than 900 farmers who have taken part in the Regional Estuaries Initiative's soil testing program to support better fertiliser decisions.

Farmers in the Lower Blackwood catchment are signing up to join more than 900 farmers who have taken part in the Regional Estuaries Initiative's soil testing program to support better fertiliser decisions.

Farmers in the Lower Blackwood catchment are signing up to join more than 900 farmers who have taken part in the Regional Estuaries Initiative's soil testing program to support better fertiliser decisions.

Expressions of interest open in June, coinciding with an opportunity to attend an Accu-Spread fertiliser spreader demonstration day.

The program and demo day are supported by the Lower Blackwood LCDC for farmers interested in minimising their loss of fertiliser either through uneven distribution caused by a poorly calibrated spreader or through applying more fertiliser than their soil requires.

As a part of the program, grazing farmers in key areas of the South West will have access to testing across their whole farm. Testing is combined with workshops to learn how to interpret nutrient maps and access to personalised, one-on-one agronomic advice with an accredited advisor.

The fertiliser spreader demonstration will be held in the Lower Blackwood Catchment on Friday 7 June by interstate specialist, Russell Nichol.

Deborah Orr has a beef property and joined the testing program in 2018. "The program was great value for us, the workshop really helped explain the science, with the whole farm nutrient map provided showing us a comprehensive picture of what is in our soil now," she said.

"The program also included a one on one consultation with a program agronomist - this helped us to properly interpreting the results and determine our fertiliser needs.

"We're looking forward to seeing the results of the leaf tissue testing that is part of the next stage, to see if the recommendations we have implemented flow through into improved pasture nutrition levels.

"Overall it's been a good program to be involved in and I'd recommend it to all farmers in the catchment."

The excess and uneven application of phosphorous not only affects farmers' bottom lines but is an issue for the water quality of waterways and estuaries.

The program includes financial incentives with farmers receiving testing valued up to $3000 and additional advice and support to tailor their fertiliser programs.

The Accu-Spread demonstration day is free of charge and includes the opportunity for five farmers to bring their spreaders to be tested.

The program is being run by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

For more info contact Jo Wren on (08) 97584 021 or Joanna.wren@lowerblackwood.com.au.

To register your interest in the program or demo day visit lowerblackwood.com.au/soil-testing