Sustainable farm practices improve Australia’s capacity to produce food and fibre while enhancing delivery of other ecosystem services, such as clean air, water, healthy soils and biodiversity conservation.
Sustainable farm practices targets aim to:
• Promote adoption of sustainable land management practices
• Increase landscape scale conservation through biodiversity conservation and protection
• Improve land manager knowledge and skills
In response to Caring for our Country Sustainable farm practises, the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority (CMA) are offering two projects, soil acidification and woodlands protection.
The Soil Acidification Project
Soil acidification is a natural process that reduces soil fertility and farm productivity. Agricultural practices that can accelerate acidification include:
• Removal of alkaline produce (e.g. milk, grain, hay, wool, meat)
• Build up of organic matter
• Leaching of soil nitrogen derived from fertilizer and nitrogen fixing plants
• Application of nitrogenous fertilizers in excess of vegetation requirements
With funding through the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country, Glenelg Hopkins CMA in partnership with Southern Farming Systems and WestVic Dairy, are working to increase farmer understanding soil nutrient condition and requirements. Farmers who can match fertilizer application to soil and vegetation requirements can reduce potential for nitrogen leaching. Glenelg Hopkins CMA will be looking to partner with other industry organisations in future years.
Soils in the Glenelg Hopkins catchment most at risk to acidification identified in the Glenelg Hopkins Soil Health Strategy are shown in the figure.
The Remnant Woodlands Project
Agricultural production in some areas of Australia has lead to clearing of precious woodlands. Only three million hectares of remnant woodlands remain in Australia.
Glenelg Hopkins Woodlands Protection Project seeks to assist farmers to manage, protect and link remnant woodland on agricultural land.
Funding from Caring for our Country will increase awareness and knowledge of biodiversity risks, and sustainable farm practices, through a series of workshops and field days involving four community groups.
Individual property management plans will be developed to create one cross property action plan for a particular area. Over the two year life of the project, four of these cross property management plans will be developed.
The Woodlands Protection Project will be delivered in Dartmoor area in Year 1 and Portland in Year 2, where remnants are fragmented. In Year 1, the project teams up with another Caring for Our Country funded pest plant and animal project in the Glenelg River and Lower Crawford High Conservation Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HCVAE).