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October, 2021

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The latest farming news from GeoCatch

Dear Sally,

Welcome to our second Kicking the Dirt newsletter! Featuring farming news, events and updates for the Geographe Bay Catchment. We would love your feedback and any ideas you have to make this update as relevant, engaging and informative as possible!

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Farmers protecting our rivers

Ten local farmers have been busy installing stock-proof fencing and planting along the riverbanks on their property. Together, the farmers have put in a huge effort this year, installing 15km of fencing and planting close to 10,000 local native plants.

Farmers Russell and Beth Oates are committed to keeping our rivers clean, having participated in soil testing and stream restoration. They have witnessed the benefits not just for the environment but for production as well.

“I have a long history of planting trees on my property in Wilyabrup and have seen the positive difference it makes,” said Russell.

"Aside from planting trees to improve aesthetics, there are many benefits of windbreaks and shelter belts for pasture and for stock – there are benefits for the whole ecosystem.”

More information
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Dairy Effluent Upgrades = Good news for waterways

Recent fit-for-purpose upgrades to local dairy farm effluent systems, delivered as part of the Healthy Estuaries WA program, are helping dairy farmers better manage dairy effluent and nutrient run-off.

As part of the RGW program, ten dairy farmers received funding incentives to upgrade their systems and develop individual effluent management plans through an accredited system designer, and in turn reduce the level of nutrient run-off from their farms into the Catchment.

Read more
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Grazing Matcher: Secrets to good hay and silage!

As we patiently wait for drier conditions to start the hay and silage season, farmers taking part in the Grazing Matcher group are ready to put what they’ve learnt into practice.

Treeton farmer Nick Healy hosted the August meeting where the group heard from Smart Cow consultant Dario Nandapi on how to optimise the quality of hay and silage produced and minimise wastage.

Overall, the key messages were to aim for a high-quality product, measuring quality through having representative samples analysed by feed testing laboratories, and storing hay and silage properly. 

More hay and silage secrets

Follow our Facebook page for Grazing Matcher updates.

VIDEOS: 1) Farmer Rob McFerran shares his insights and 2) Feed testing hay

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uPtake Field Day

Farmers attended an uPtake Trials Field Day in September to see firsthand two fertiliser trials underway in the Geographe Bay Catchment. As the sun was shining, the project partners shone a light on some of the outcomes of the trials so far.

Local farmer Brett Sue said that he is interested in how this research could benefit his farm business.

“The split application of phosphorus has been intriguing,” said Brett.

“I’ve also learned more about the benefits to plant growth, use of phosphorus and reduction of leaching into the environment.”

Read more
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Complexity of flood protection

Community members and landholders witnessed firsthand the complexity of the local drainage network at the Flood protection in Busselton bus tour.

The tour was organised in response to community concerns over flood risk during winter, visiting the Sabina River detention basin, Vasse Diversion Drain culverts, Vasse surge barrier and the sand bar at Wonnerup.

If you missed the event you can access the Site Handout that includes details of the drainage assets and how they work together as part of the drainage network.

Find out more....
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The rain continues

Rainfall for Cowaramup and the Vasse River continued to track above average during July to September. Rainfall for the remainder of the year is predicted to continue this trend under both dry and wet scenarios. The BoM outlook for November to January is a 50% chance of exceeding median rainfall in the South West.

Australia's weather is influenced by many climate drivers. El Niño and La Niña have the strongest influence on year-to-year climate variability for most of the country. They are part of a natural cycle known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The ENSO cycle loosely operates over timescales from one to eight years and is currently neutral, however the chance of La Niña forming in the coming months has increased to around 70%. La Niña typically means increased rainfall across much of Australia and

cooler daytime temperatures (south of the tropics).

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Enhancing remnant vegetation pilot

Developed by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Australian National University, as part of a $66.1 million Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package, this pilot aims to create a credible and sustainable market mechanism that improves biodiversity and creates new income opportunities for farmers.

The aims is to improve existing native vegetation on farms through locally adapted management protocols developed by the Australian National University in consultation with Natural Resource Management (NRM) organisations in six trial regions. South West Catchments Council is managing the pilot in the South West.

Successful farmers could be eligible to receive payments to manage and enhance existing remnant native vegetation on their farm.

Expressions of Interest are due Wednesday 27 October 2021

Express your interest


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We have been working with farmers for over 20 years! If you'd like to increase productivity and profitability while supporting the environment then contact us at [email protected] to chat about what opportunities we have!

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