Improving the profitability & sustainability of Esperance port zone grain growers

Ripper Gauge Demonstration Sites in the Esperance Port Zone

Project Timelines:  March 2018 - February 2021

The practices of soil amelioration (deep ripping) and controlled traffic farming can be confusing for some growers due to soil variability and varying options for treatment. There is indecision as to what treatments suit what soil types, and what their economic benefits are (if any) in the short, medium and long term. Also, combined approaches to ameliorate more than one constraint can be worthwhile, but there are still some soil types that people are nervous about touching due to associated risks (such as hostile subsoils and erosion concerns).
Strategic tillage practices have also been found to compact again over time following amelioration, often and greater levels than prior to treatment. Currently, the solution is to repeat the deep ripping process every few years, with the period between deep ripping dependant on the soil type and amount of wheeled traffic on the paddock. This is a costly repetitive process that may become unsustainable in the long term as soils become compacted to greater depths with successive tillage treatments and larger/heavier machinery.
This project aims to evaluate and demonstrate the benefit of soil amelioration across a wider range of soil types that are common to the WA grain growing region. Demonstration sites will be established at 4 locations in the Esperance Port Zone to fill the gaps in knowledge of economic return from the amelioration over time. This project will link in with other groups in Western Australia working on the same topic. SEPWA will work in closely with Ravensthorpe Agricultural Initiative Network (RAIN) and the North Mallee Farm Improvement Group to ensure priority soil types in the Esperance port zone are covered.
As a result of this project, growers will have an increased awareness of the benefits of amelioration and also controlled traffic practices the give the greatest benefit and longevity for the major soil types of the region.

For more information, please contact Aidan Sinnott at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Michelle Handley at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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