South-West agricultural soil testing opportunities to benefit farm profitability and waterway health

Media release
Expressions of interest are now open for farmers to participate in the latest round of the fertiliser management program through Healthy Estuaries WA.

The program is open to beef, dairy and sheep grazing enterprises with at least 40 hectares of cleared, arable land in south-west catchments Peel-Harvey, Leschenault, Vasse-Wonnerup and Geographe, Hardy Inlet, Wilson Inlet, Torbay Inlet and Oyster Harbour.  

Successful applicants will join more than 1,300 farmers working to improve the health of south-west waterways while increasing farm productivity and profitability.  

Participating farmers will receive comprehensive whole-farm soil testing and expert advice to develop a tailored fertiliser plan. This ensures nutrients stay on the farm by preventing excess fertiliser washing into waterways, where it fuels algal growth and can lead to fish kills. 

Dr Deborah Holtham, Sustainable Agriculture Project Coordinator with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) said, “It’s not just about improving the health of our waterways – it’s also about working together to improve farmers’ profitability and knowledge of their farming system,”  

By testing soils, farmers can make informed decisions about fertiliser application and apply only what they need. Previous participants have reported savings on fertiliser costs of up to $10,000 per year.  

“Using an evidence-based approach to fertiliser management based on soil testing has enabled more cost-effective fertiliser strategies compared with traditional approaches,” said Dr Holtham.   

Expressions of interest for this year’s program are open until Sunday 19 June 2022 and can be submitted at the Healthy Estuaries WA website. 

The fertiliser management program is delivered in partnership with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Leschenault Catchment Council, GeoCatch, Lower Blackwood LCDC, Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee, Torbay Catchment Group and Oyster Harbour Catchment Group. 

This program is a part of Healthy Estuaries WA – a State Government Royalties for Regions program that aims to improve the health of our south-west estuaries.  

DWER media contact – media@dwer.wa.gov.au  

Page reviewed 25 May 2022