As part of the Northern Agricultural Catchment Council (NACC) Sustainable Agriculture’s Innovative Farm Demonstration Site project, the Mingenew Irwin Group have launched their trial project: ‘A demonstration of perennial shrub systems enabling adaptation to erosion and climate change’. Here is what their Project Officer Anna Maxted has to say.
“We are now half way through the perennial shrub system project taking place in Irwin,” Anna said.
“Shrubs were planted on Craig Forsyth’s property in June with multiple rows of shrubs being planted with perennial grasses between them.
“The Future Farm Industries CRC ‘Enrich’ project has shown how perennial shrubs in pasture grazing systems can reduce feed gaps and increase whole farm profitability by up to 20%.”
The aim of the project is to determine the effectiveness of the shrubs in reducing wind erosion within paddocks.
The shrubs will be used as a wind barrier between strips of stock feed, reducing erosion of the feed. The current project in Irwin will allow their team to analyse whether this innovation can be widely harnessed in the Northern Agricultural Region.
“Monitoring of the shrubs this month revealed that those performing best are species of Atriplex (saltbush), Viminaria juncea and Eucalyptus. Interestingly the Viminaria juncea and Eucalyptus are growing better on the flat part of the study site, and the Atriplex (saltbush) are thriving on the sloped part of the site,” Anna said.
“The shrubs in the sheltered, flatter part of the site are about 40 centimeters high, whereas the largest shrubs on the sloped part of the site are about 30 centimeters high.
“It will be interesting to see how the shrubs fair over Summer and in turn the results of survival rate monitoring.”
To date, The study has provided some interesting information about which species of shrubs fair better in our region. A field walk will be taking place soon to allow members to see the progress of the project.
Dean Revell, the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) board director, founder of Revell Science and a specialist in interactions between livestock and production systems, will be in attendance.
This project is supported by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.