Looking back at the year that was, it’s certainly been a year of highs and lows, thankfully more highs.
Talkin’ Soil Health was cancelled in March with uncertainly around WA opening its borders to COVID and the world, only to be held five months later with a record crowd of 200 people. After two years of online events, it felt great to be in a room with real people again.
With the cost of inputs skyrocketing, the farming industry is looking for answers so interest is growing in low chemical farming systems, alternative fertilisers and companion cropping. Climate change resilience is also at the forefront of everyone’s minds, water use efficiency, changing rainfall patterns and building the capacity of soil to bounce back from extreme weather events.
We’ve been able to address many of these issues through Talkin’ Soil Health as well as through a workshop we held in March with Terry McCosker of RCS and the Mulloon Institute who spoke about farm planning to rehydrate the landscape.
We’ve also hosted the National Soil Advocate the Hon. Penny Wensley on a field tour to several Wheatbelt farms which was a great opportunity to demonstrate some of the innovation we are seeing as farmers look for solutions to current challenges.
We’ve involved 20 farmers in trapping dung beetles and obtained a clearer picture of the species we have established and where. Next year we hope to establish some on-farm nurseries to support the release of more species. The beetles attracted a lot of interest at the Dowerin Field Day.
We’ve taken soil samples and tissue tests for the Soil Cooperative Research Centre project on developing microbial indicators, and done survival counts for the demonstration farms involved in our optimising fodder project. We’ve also given out over 20 small grants to farmers wanting to trial some innovative fodder projects.
As a team, we said goodbye to Bonny Dunlop and welcomed Millie Brady. Most recently Jacquie Lucas has come back to the team on a part time basis.
With several new projects coming on stream we are set for another big year in 2023 and looking forward to working with you!
Published eNews #375, December 2022