Project Delivery: Evergreen Farming
Contact: Peter Clifton (SWCC – Bunbury). Ph: 9724 2469. Email: email@example.com
Website: SWCC Sustainable Agriculture
Start Date: June 2014 End Date: Dec 2017
Site ID: IN6
Size Are Ha: 9
The aim is to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of saline valley floors in the South West, typically a degraded and under-performing land management unit. The project aims to demonstrate whether messina, a new salt and waterlogging tolerant annual legume, can grow and thrive in existing perennial pastures and fix nitrogen, eliminating the need for fertiliser nitrogen and the the risk of increased soil acidification.
The trial will take place on four farms, two commencing in 2014 and two in 2015 (due to shortage of seed). The 2014 farms are in Tonebridge and Woodanilling (shown on map) and 2015 farms are expected to be in Kojonup and Nyabing.
Sites are generally slightly saline duplex soils with variations at a smaller scale. They support puccinellia with some areas of tall wheat grass and saltbush.
Two treatments are (1) messina and (2) balansa clover, which is currently used by some farmers as an annual legume in saline areas. There will also be a control (no legume added). Each trial site will be just over 2ha and will consist of 3 messina plots, 3 balansa plots and 3 controls. Monitoring includes:
- Soil testing – chemical analysis.
- Pasture density (plants per m2, perennial grass and messina).
- Pasture composition (% of each species) .
- Pasture yield (kg/ha).
- Seed yield (kg/ha).
- Grazing days per hectare of livestock.
Field walk 1 – October 2014 – for feedback about what happened at the field walk, read our media release
This project is supported by Agvivo and the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA).
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Photo credits: Phil Nichols, DAFWA