Farmers helping farmers to maximise soil-moisture and production from Australia’s most prolonged drought area

We have received funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund to deliver a project in the Cranbrook and Ravensthorpe areas to deliver a project to provide farmers with the knowledge and skills to:

• address changes in rainfall
• fundamentally re-frame perspectives on the value of water
• mitigate negative impacts of drought.

Approach:

• Help 30 farmers in water deficient areas on the south coast to develop farm drought mitigation management plans.
• Prepare shovel-ready projects for future funding programs.
• Implement on-ground innovative fail-safe demonstration activities.
• Address key drought mitigation knowledge gaps of 100 farmers.

Drought is an enduring feature of the Australian landscape. It has significant economic, social and environmental impacts. The long-term climate in WA’s south coast has changed more dramatically than most places in Australia with the rainfall declining by 20% and temperature rising by 1°C. Despite this the region has significant production potential, being responsible for up to 46% of WA’s grain production when sufficient soil moisture exists. However, since 2018 many farmers have received less than 40% of normal annual rainfall and have been unable to retain enough for normal businesses-as-usual activities.

A change in how farmers manage their farms, water and associated infrastructure needs to occur to fit in with this change in rainfall.

Using established and previously successful peer to peer adult learning techniques, on-ground demonstrations and mobilising social networks, this project will provide farmers with the knowledge and skills to implement management changes to address the changes in rainfall, fundamentally re-frame broadacre farmers perspectives on the value of water to best utilise it on their farms, and mitigate negative impacts of drought. It will capitalise on existing trusted partnerships and networks to quickly identify project participants and share information throughout the agricultural industry.

PartnersThe Gillamii Centre and Ravensthorpe Agricultural Initiative Network
Project duration: – now until 30 June 2022.

For more information about the Future Drought Fund, visit: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought