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New website shines light on sustainable farming trials

Thursday, December 11th 2014

Hundreds of farmers from nearly all of WA’s agricultural regions have become part of a new website promoting sustainable farming research work undertaken on their farms.

The website features 123 trials and on-site demonstrations coordinated by the State’s seven natural resource management groups.

Wheat and sheep farmer Rob Grylls’s property at Bencubbin is one of the sites included.

His trials include the planting of a saltbush species to help reduce worm infestations in sheep and using oil mallee wood chips to increase soil carbon.

“These sustainable agriculture trials funded by the NRM groups give farmers the opportunity and confidence to try new farming practices,” Rob Grylls said.

“Having all the trials listed on a single website means other farmers can easily contact the landholder to find out more.”

The scale of investment into sustainable farming practices by the Australian Government through WA’s seven NRM groups has been estimated to reach $27 million between 2013-2018.

The idea was a collaborative NRM project and developed by Steve Ewings from the South West Catchments Council.

“Each year sustainable farming trials are established on properties from the Kimberley south through to Esperance,” Steve Ewings said.

“Up until now there has been a gap where primary producers haven’t been able to easily see what trial work is being done and where.

“NRM funded trial and demonstration sites are really diverse, ranging from topics such as lime incorporation and improving nutrient use efficiency to perennial grazing and agroforestry systems.

“We now have a website where the results from these trials can be published and easily accessed by other farmers and agronomists.”

The site is one of the first collaborative initiatives from the seven NRM groups, working together under the banner ‘NRM WA’.

The website has been launched as a prototype and will only host NRM funded sites between now and June 2015 while feedback is sought from farmers and industry groups.

“But after that we want to open it up to anyone who is undertaking a sustainable agriculture trial,” Steve Ewings said.

“It’s all about sharing knowledge amongst the different NRM groups and giving better outcomes for the entire agricultural industry.”

Media Contact: Steve Ewings, South West Catchments Council, (08) 9780 6264