Learning about spading and deep ripping on sandplain, Coorow WA

“Increasing water use efficiency and decreasing input costs for sustainable and profitable farms in a changing climate.”

The Liebe Group has been successful in receiving funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry under its Australia’s Farming Future Initiative to raise awareness and assist growers in dealing with the threat of climate change.

The project aims to raise awareness of the drivers of climate and some of the predictions and scenarios going into the future. It will look at the current research into climate change, where the debate on climate change is at, and how farmers can adapt to an increasingly volatile climate.

Areas where growers can improve their farming systems will be focused on in this project, specifically, increasing water use efficiency through better practice agronomy and better management of input costs through precision agriculture technologies.

Increasing water use efficiency is an area where significant improvements to the farming system can be made. This can be achieved by an increase in the adoption of best practice management strategies including; optimising sowing time, using suitable crop varieties, managing soil type differences correctly, conserving soil moisture, managing fertiliser inputs correctly and understanding the capacity of their different soil types to make in-season decisions according to how the season is progressing. Advances in precision agriculture techniques allow growers to achieve best practice by increasing their capacity and efficiency across all farming operations.

Project Activities

Some of the activities planned for the project are workshops on water use efficiency and precision agriculture, case studies on various aspect of crop management, an input trial and water use efficiency demonstrations and also scenario planning workshops which will help growers plan for the future looking at numerous different scenarios.

Yield Prophet

Yield Prophet aims to provide extra information to assist with critical decision making such as time of sowing, nitrogen decisions and timing of chemical applications. The reports have been compiled by Dave Cameron of FARMANCO with assistance from Caroline Peek and Rob Grima from DAFWA and Liebe staff and produced as part of the water use efficiency component of this project.

The Liebe Group aim to produce these reports at critical intervals throughout the 2010, 2011 & 2012 growing seasons.

Scenario Planning Workshop

The Liebe Group held a workshop entitled ‘The Future of Farming – Agriculture in the NAR in 2025’ on Wednesday 2nd September 2009 which was funded by DAFF and GRDC. The purpose of the workshop was to explore what farming in the Northern Agricultural Region will possibly look like in 15 years and how to prosper in the coming decades. Read the report here.

Climate Change Information

Dr. Steve Crimp from CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems presented his paper: ‘Agricultural production in a variable and changing climate – Farming in an even more sunburnt country’ at the 2010 Liebe Group Crop Updates on Wednesday 3rd March. His paper can be found here.

Case Studies

Case studies that follow the decision making of progressive farmers have been produced as part of this project. These studies explore management techniques that can improve water use relating to precision agriculture.

Final Results Publication

This publication contains information from the major activities conducted as part of this project. It contains climate information, results from the scenario planning session, water use efficiency information including yield prophet summaries and information pertaining to optimising input costs.

This publication can be found here.

Project Objectives

  1. Increased adoption of strategies aimed at reducing input costs whilst maintaining sustainability of nutrients, soil health, ground cover, rotations, finances and more.
  2. Increased adoption of strategies aimed at increasing water use efficiency.
  3. Increased capacity of growers to determine the appropriate best practice management strategy for particular seasons and soil types.
  4. Increased community awareness of the projected impacts of climate change and season variability on the farming system.
  5. Increased grower awareness and practise of strategies available to mitigate the effects of climate change and season variability

For more information contact the Liebe Group office on (08) 9661 0570 or admin@liebegroup.org.au

Project Updates

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