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Summer Fodder across the wheatbelt

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Sustainable Agriculture

The sustainable industries team has been out finalising the ground over assessments for our optimising fodder project finishing this June.

Starting at the Manns in Beverly, with the help of the Ranger team, we were able to asses the establishment of their multiple saltbush plantings. The sites that are prone to waterlogging were not very successful due to a wet year in 2021, but the Manns replanted these areas in 2022 and establishment of Anameka, Old man and River saltbush is looking great. They have enjoyed increasing feed during the autumn feed gap and increasing the productivity of non-arable land. Fencing off Gullies and creek lines and planting saltbush increases the stability of the gullies, which decreases erosion from rainfall events. Find more about their journey here

Next we went to Kane Page’s Saltbush sites in East Brookton which are doing great. Kane has even integrated a multispecies summer cover crop into some of the large inter-row sections of his mixed saltbush site. Before planting the saltbush, this site would not have been able to withstand such growth, but after just a few years of regeneration, a summer mix is thriving. In the mix is: sunflower, millet, sorghum, forage rape rarish, chicory and plantain. This is an excellent example of how soil can regenerate if given the right tools (saltbush plantings) to enable higher order and more complex plants to survive and thrive. Summer cover not only provides green feed, but it helps to supress summer weeds, reduces evaporation from the soil and stimulates microbial activity.


Kane also planted another paddock into summer cover with the same mix.

The final stop was Nick Kelly’s in Newdegate to assess his perennial pastures. Nick planted a mixture of Panic, Rhodes, Lucerne, Chicory, Style and Digitaria. We were surprised at how well the pastures are going, especially the Digitaria, considering a long, dry summer with no rain. Nick is hoping to integrate native grasses on another site on his property and is going to trial seeding them into another perennial grasses paddock. He is hoping that the structure and soil conditions created by the perennials will aid in native grass establishment, as this can be a challenge. We look forward to following his journey and sharing it with you.