Commencement Date: February 2014
Completion Date: December 2014

“A sustainable farming system through improved understanding of soil quality.”

The Liebe Group has been successful in receiving funding from the Gundawa Regional Conservation Association. The Gundawa Association is a unique partnership that aims to dramatically improve the way the landscape is understood and managed in parts of the North Eastern Wheatbelt and Southern Rangelands of Western Australia.

The area Gundawa is operating in is an area bounded by the towns of Bencubbin, Dalwallinu, Mullewa, Yalgoo and Paynes Find. Gundawa Regional Conservation Association is currently chaired by Bush Heritage Australia.

The association presents an opportunity for a diverse group of organisations to work together to achieve common goals, bringing together Iron Ore mining companies Mount  Gibson Iron Limited and Extension Hill Pty Ltd, Regional NRM groups, Local Government, agricultural organisations, Indigenous representatives and private conservation organisations.

This project aims to improve our understanding of the impacts of farming on soil microbiology by comparing remnant vegetation to farming land in the shires of Perenjori, Dalwallinu, Wongan-Ballidu and Coorow.

10 paired sites of different soil types and farming systems will be analysed for a number of soil properties such as microbial biomass, organic carbon, soil disease, pH, soil strength, nutrient analysis and soil structure.

Project Objectives

  1. Select at least 10 paired sites, 5 in agricultural production systems and 5 in remnant vegetation. Cropping sites and remnant vegetation sites paired on matching soil type to provide comparison.
  2. Sample sites using national soil quality guidelines developed through the GRDC Soil Biology Initiative.
  3. Run soil analyses.
  4. Communication of results to community via events, reports and media articles.
  5. Identify and develop intervention techniques that can correct deficiencies identified through the sampling program.

Expected Project Outcomes

Collaboration between landholders and researchers to create better understanding of the health of their soil and the impact agricultural practices has had on this. Information collected from this project will be the foundation for research into methods of improving soil in agricultural and mining land.

  1. Soil quality reports for 10 sites.
  2. An extension article in the Farm Weekly and local papers outlining findings of the report.
  3. A soil health workshop to discuss the results and implications of results for industry.

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