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 farmers with whole farm soil testing, colour-coded nutrient maps, soil and plant nutrition workshops, spring plant tissue testing and access to their chosen Fertcare Accredited agronomist, who will develop a customised fertiliser plan, specific to their production requirements across their farm.
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 over 40% of farmers in the catchment have been involved in the program, reaffirming that soil testing on farms is now common practice amongst the agricultural community.
Local beef farmer, Robyn Robertson participated last year and highly recommends the program for those that are keen to learn more about their soil and how they can be more efficient with fertiliser.
“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,” said Robyn.
The program is even more important this year with the rising cost of fertilisers, with global fertiliser prices estimated to have increased by 180 per cent.
GeoCatch Project Officer Jenelle Schult says soil testing is a win for farmers and the environment. “Being part of the program helps farmers save money on fertiliser, improves farm productivity and reduces nutrients entering Geographe Bay”.
David Weaver, Principal Scientist from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) said that extensive research shows that most paddocks already have sufficient phosphorus for good pasture growth.
“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% have phosphorus levels higher than what is needed for maximum pasture growth.”
“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,” said Mr Weaver.
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 Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.
Applications for the Geographe Soil Testing Program are open until Sunday 25 June 2022. To learn more or to register your interest, click here or contact GeoCatch on 0491 069 078 for further information.
The program is a part of the State Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA and Revitalising Geographe Waterways programs, and Soil Wise. Soil Wise is funded by the National Landcare Program Smart Farms Small Grants Initiative – an Australian Government program.