Healthy Soils Healthy Rivers
This program is a joint initiative between Perth NRM, Wheatbelt NRM and the Rivers and Estuaries Division at the Department of Parks and Wildlife, to assist landholders and community groups to implement on-ground activities that will improve soil health and contribute to improved water quality in the Swan-Avon river system. The program is funded by the Australian Government National Landcare Programme and the Western Australian Government.
The program encourages an integrated approach to nutrient management by supporting landholders to better understand their soils through soil testing and analysis, development of nutrient management plans and adoption of better nutrient management practices that improve soil health and crop performance whilst reducing nutrient export to waterways.
Perth NRM is achieving this by hiring independent, industry appropriate agronomists to visit producers in the Swan and Avon Catchments to work one on one with them to take leaf, soil and water samples for analysis. The agronomist also learns about the current fertiliser and irrigation practices on the property. The agronomist then produces a report which provides recommendations based on the analysis results and the current crop and land management practices.
So far there have been over 100 participants in the program from a variety of industries including, equine and pasture management, stone and pome fruit orchardists, wine and table grape producers, Jujube growers, to name a few. Participant feedback has been strong, with the majority now implementing more efficient nutrient and irrigation management practices which in turn help improve farm gate returns by either decreasing costs or increasing production quantity and quality.