New website to shine light on farming trials

www.agtrialsite.com a collaborative NRM project developed by South West Catchments Council program manager Steve Ewings, features 123 trials and on-site demonstrations.

The website has been launched as a prototype and is one of the first collaborative initiatives between the state’s seven NRM groups, working together under the banner NRM WA.

It will only host NRM funded trial sites between December 2014 and June 2015 while feedback is sought from farmers and industry groups.

One of the trials included on www.agtrialsite.com is wheat and sheep farmer Rob Grylls’ property at Bencubbin.Rob’s trials include the planting of a saltbush species to help reduce worm infestations in sheep and using oil mallee wood chips to increase soil carbon.

“These sustainable agriculture trials funded by the NRM groups give farmers the opportunity and confidence to try new farming practices,” Rob said.

“Having all the trials listed on a single website means other farmers can easily contact the landholder to find out more.

”The scale of investment into sustainable farming practices by the Australian Government through the state’s NRM groups began in 2013 and is estimated to reach 7 million by 2018.

Steve Ewings said that each year sustainable farming trials are established on properties from the Kimberley, south through to Esperance.“Up until now there has been a gap where primary producers haven’t been able to easily see what trial work is being done and where,’ Steve said.

“NRM funded trial and demonstration sites are really diverse, ranging from topics such as lime incorporation and improving nutrient use efficiency to perennial grazing and agroforestry systems.

“We now have a website where the results from these trials can be published and easily accessed by other farmers and agronomists.

“But after that we want to open it up to anyone who is undertaking a sustainable agriculture trial.“It’s all about sharing knowledge among the different NRM groups and giving better outcomes for the entire agricultural industry.’

Pic: Bencubbin farmer Rob Grylls.