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Farmers across the South West come together on Valentine’s Day to get down and dirty for sustainable farming

Craig DuncanSouth Western Times
On February 14, 2023, a group of farmers set out to test different techniques to create sustainable farmland.
Camera IconOn February 14, 2023, a group of farmers set out to test different techniques to create sustainable farmland. Credit: Supplied

Farmers from around the South West left their greener pastures on Valentine’s Day and instead migrated to the pristine shores of Busselton to get down and dirty with the results of a year-long soil study.

The Sustainable Pasture Challenge provided a unique opportunity for farmers around the region to test new sustainable farming techniques in a competition to learn what works best for farmland in the region.

One year prior, the same group of farmers gathered on a farm just outside Busselton to divide the area into separate plots to test alternative methods of farming.

The challenge allowed farmers to experiment with different methods to find out the best ways to manage their farmland.

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South West NRM sustainable agriculture manager Peter Clifton said the Pasture Challenge helped farmers better understand their soil, which was critical for improving sustainability.

“The logical first step for farmers is to understand their soils better, before they take any management actions,” he said.

“Then isolate what soil properties they want to change, and monitor the effect of their management.”

Winners of the South West NRM pasture challenge, The PH Group and The Rippers.
Camera IconWinners of the South West NRM pasture challenge, The PH Group and The Rippers. Credit: Supplied

Accioly Livestock Industries Services production specialist Jeisane Accioly said the challenge gave producers the chance to try their own hand at testing.

“This was the first time we have brought them all together and split into groups to decide on different treatments,” she said.

“This was a chance for us to give everyone the same information and let them decide what they would like to test and fix.”

The farmers were split into four groups, each looking for different outcomes, working on four separate smaller pastures.

The winners of the challenge were PH Group and The Ripper Group, having developed pastures with good yields, few weeds and improvements in the soil that were seen throughout the year.

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