Twenty landholders across the Wheatbelt have secured small grants of up to $2,500 to plant fodder and increase groundcover on their mixed farming properties as part of the National Landcare Program funded project, Optimising Fodder Options in Mixed Farming Systems.
We were greatly impressed with the ideas and levels of innovation that the successful farmers have applied to their projects.
Some of the ideas funded included:
- Summer cover cropping with species such as lucerne, sorghum, hemp, millet, sunflower, peas and vetch
- Salt tolerant pasture plantings with Puccinella, Scimitar, Messina
- Biodiverse plantings to stabilise riparian zones with Acacia species, Eucalyptus species, Salt Bush species, Maleluca and Grevillea.
- Native grass plantings (Kangaroo grass, Wallaby grass)
- Integrating legumes such as Messina clover, Burr medic, Balansia clover and Serradella varieties
One participant is trialling summer cover of Super Sweet Sudan- Sorghum (SSS) in Brookton. It was sowed in October, just in time to reap the benefits of all this late rain and get the good germination seen in the photograph above.
The benefits of SSS in your system include:
- Multiple grazing, extra feed over dry summer months
- Summer cover, reduces erosion, builds microbial diversity
- Highly palatable
- Suitable for hay/silage
- Deep roots increase water holding capacity of the soil
Managing pasture cover to maintain ground cover is an effective tool to protect Wheatbelt soils. There are multiple benefits of ground cover including but not limited to:
- Reducing erosion / run off
- Increasing soil microbial activity
- Increasing soil stability
- Increase water holding capacity and water usage
- Protecting water ways
- Providing out of season feed / reducing supplement feeding
We will be following the progress of a number of these projects through the year.
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Published in Farming in Focus, December 2022