overcoming wind erosion
This project has three main aims:
Increase adoption of strategies which reduce the extent and severity of wind erosion.
Explore innovative strategies being used by farmers to combat wind erosion.
Increase community knowledge of Natural Resource Management.
Caring for Our Country
Project lead organisation
The Liebe Group have been successful in obtaining funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country, to provide growers with innovative and improved management strategies to overcome wind erosion in the Dalwallinu, Coorow, Perenjori, and Wongan-Ballidu shires. This four-year project will target over 300 growers within the region who, as a result of the project, will demonstrate improved soil management techniques and improved natural resource management knowledge and skills. The group will be conducting a large number of activities including farmer demonstrations, workshops/events, case studies, and more.
Soil erosion due to wind is a major issue in the Northern Agricultural and Avon Regions of Western Australia. The Liebe Group covers over one million hectares in these regions and is proposing a project aimed at decreasing the extent and severity of wind erosion.
With the regions experiencing five years of below average rainfall and three severe droughts during the last decade, the impact of wind erosion has been more severe than in previous years. There are numerous reasons why wind erosion occurs and growers have many options to ensure their paddocks will be less severely affected through any future seasonal volatility. In many cases growers have developed their own innovative strategies to overcome the problem.
In the Liebe Group region, wind erosion generally occurs due to poor soil structure, over grazing, poor management of low production soil zones, and long periods of cultivated fallow.
The aim of most wind erosion control strategies is to maintain or increase ground cover, whether by increasing plant growth through amelioration of low production soil zones; through growing an alternative crop or pasture that may provide more cover than traditional crops on a specific soil type; through managing stock differently so that over-grazing of paddocks doesn’t occur, or; by managing stubble in a strategic way so that a paddock is never left bare.
With numerous different farming systems in the region, the management strategy, or combination of strategies, will differ from property to property, even from paddock to paddock. This project will present a range of different strategies in the form of paddock-scale demonstrations which will be documented in grower case studies and include economic analyses.
This information will be complemented by field day presentations and seminars to ensure it is reaching a broad range of growers.
There will be a focus on ameliorating and/or improving underperforming soil types, as it is often these areas that contribute heavily to wind erosion. There will also be a focus on exploring the innovative techniques that have been individually developed by growers to better manage their erosion prone paddocks. This may include, but not limited to, cover cropping, rotational grazing, strip grazing, or feedlotting stock.
In order to adopt these technologies for their specific farming system, growers require information on the costs, benefits, and practical implications of adopting a technology, suitability for their soil types and farming systems, trial results to ensure the technology is worth adopting, and the relevant contact details to get further information.
The project will build on an existing one-year Liebe Group Caring for Our Country funded project titled “Managing soil type to soil capability for economic and environmental benefits”. This project aimed to assist growers in the identification and classification of soil types of low productivity and high environmental risk, and then research and trial a range of different alternative farming systems. The new project will take learnings from this project and develop them further with the focus being on increasing adoption of the different strategies.
The project will also involve the continued monitoring and demonstration of an ‘Enrich’ fodder shrub demonstration site which was established on a low production soil zone as part of the previous project. This will extend information about a large number of Australian native species that offer potential as perennial forage shrubs for low production soil zones.
The project will address grower’s barriers to change by identifying areas where there is a lack of knowledge about the impacts of current practices and concentrate on practices that will have the greatest reduction of the effects of wind erosion. This will be achieved by creating a steering committee of growers and technical advisors to drive and actively encourage the best possible adoption of wind erosion prevention strategies. By having a large number of growers involved in benchmarking the current system; providing information quantified with economic and environmental implications; conducting demonstration sites based on different strategies and farming systems, and; provision of seminars, case studies, and articles, the project will achieve maximum on-farm adoption. Also, by identifying risk management strategies, creating flexible management systems to accommodate the changing seasons, prioritising the most effective strategies, and finding the most successful ways to build the capacity for growers to manage their changing farming system, the risks of non-adoption are low.
The Liebe Group have established strong partnerships with research and agribusiness organisations which will allow for good dissemination of information throughout the agriculture community as well as ensure the information that Liebe Group provides to farmers is accurate and scientifically credible.
The Liebe Long Term Research Site, east of Buntine, looks at new systems of feedlotting sheep in order to prevent erosion of soil resources. Marion Seymour, the District Veterinary Officer at DAFWA in Moora, presented on how to best conduct feedlotting at the 2010 Liebe Spring Field Day on Thursday 9th September. Please see her paper, ‘Feedlotting and Limit Feeders – Feeding Sheep in a Dry Season’ for more information.
Another method of preventing wind erosion is to reduce the number of paddocks burnt for weed control each harvest. The Liebe Group in conjunction with the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) are holding a workshop at the Wubin Sports Club on Tuesday 12th October 2010. Peter Newman from DAFWA will be presenting on alternative methods of weed control. Please see his paper ‘Weed seeds at harvest – spread, catch, divert, burn or destroy?’ or visit the AHRI website for more information.
For more information contact the Liebe Group office on (08) 9661 1907 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org