Geographe Soil Testing Program now open to South West beef, dairy and sheep farmers

Rachel GreenBusselton Dunsborough Times
Rachel and Rochelle soil testing on their property in Upper Capel.
Camera IconRachel and Rochelle soil testing on their property in Upper Capel. Credit: Supplied

Expressions of interest are now open for beef, sheep and dairy farmers to apply for the latest round of the Geographe Soil Testing Program.

The program provides South West farmers with soil testing for the whole farm, colour coded nutrient maps, soil and plant nutrition workshops, spring plant tissue testing and access to their chosen Fertcare Accredited argronomist.

The program helps farmers make informed decisions about their fertiliser applications and optimise their production, as well as reduce unnecessary fertiliser costs and nutrient losses into our local waterways.

Since 2010 more than 40 per cent of farmers in the catchment have been involved with the program, which confirms that soil testing on farms is a common practice in the agricultural community.

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Local beef farmer Robyn Robertson took part last year and said she highly recommends the program to other farmers.

“The program gave me information so I could get the most out of my farm, know where my dollars are best spent and how to better understand my soils,” Ms Robertson said.

With global fertiliser prices predicted to rise more than 180 per cent, the Geographe Soil Testing Program is as important as ever.

“Although soils in WA have a reputation for being nutrient poor, our testing of 30,000 south-west WA paddocks has found that more than 70 per cent have phosphorus levels higher than what is needed for maximum pasture growth,” said Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development principal scientist David Weaver.

“This means that many farmers are applying more phosphorus than their soils and pastures need. In most cases, money is wasted on phosphorus fertiliser that is not needed,” Mr Weaver said.

The program is open to beef, dairy and sheep grazing enterprises in the Geographe catchment and is being offered by GeoCatch in part in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

The program is a part of the State Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA and Revitalising Geographe Waterways programs, and Soil Wise.

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