AgChats: Addressing the environment, soil health and economics of Wheatbelt farms
A red farm bus welcomed 50 local growers and industry at the Kalannie sports club for an afternoon exploring soil carbon, carbon farming, and more! The bus was loaded and with several cars in convoy, they headed out to Bob Nixon’s property in Kalannie.
Bob Nixon has initiated several projects over the past years that look at addressing the long term profitability of his wodjil sand paddocks. The first is an amelioration project that has looked into maximising the potential of wodjil sands by complete renovation. Three years previously, strips were renovated to remove either compaction or both compaction and acidity to a depth of 40cm.
The results show increases in yield of 2 t/ha in wheat and 1.5 t/ha in canola with the full renovation, and doubled rooting depth. It is a brilliant example of what can be achieved, although economics at a larger scale need to be considered.
Bob’s second project was a site where he had planted 800ha of diverse native trees as part of a carbon farming initiative. The project will earn carbon credits, and it is a process that anyone can engage in. He began by registering the project with the Australian Government Clean Energy Regular, a critical first step!
He then moved to planting the trees at a density of 300/ha over two years to spread risk with 6m gaps between tree lines to allow native shrubs and grasses to move in and develop the multi-story planting. The project is signed for 25years and is predicted to accrue approximately 60 Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) per ha over that period.
Back at the sports club, the group was very grateful to get out of the unexpected rain they settled in to discuss carbon farming in more detail. Richard Brake from Richard Brake Consulting, Kerrie House from DPIRD and Crawford Taylor from Rabobank had short presentations followed by a roundtable discussion with the participants.
The afternoon finished with a sundowner and a few beers as discussion broke into smaller groups. There are many ongoing opportunities that are designed for those who wish to become more involved in incorporating carbon credits in their farming practices. To find out more contact the Liebe Group on 08 9661 1907.
Thanks to GrainGrowers for their ongoing support of the AgChats Workshops, and the Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group for joining our events.