The Western Australian Regional Agricultral Landcare Facilitators (RALFs) organised a face to face catch up for the tea in light of our usual annual Canberra conference being cancelled. We couldn’t miss such an excellent opportunity to connect, collaborate and learn from each other and others in the sustainable agriculture industry, so we made it happen! Spread from Broome to Esperance, the team of ten came together in the Perth and Peel-Harvey regions over 48 hours.
Learning from UWA PhD student Bianca Berto at Kings Park Science about the science of native grasses and their role in broadscale revegetation. This application will be fantastic, especially for Northern RALs working in landscapes where native grasses are a dominant vegetation cover. We can’t wait for it to be rolled out and will be keeping in touch with Bianca in the future.
We also met with Lynette Abbott from UWA and her incredible team running projects with their students in soils, involving microbiology, carbon, and organic waste. We’ve connected with their communications officer to keep in the loop with their projects so we can partner with UWA for sustainable agriculture projects across the State. What an excellent opportunity for students and RALFs alike to get out on country and learn from one another!
Another UWA team, led by Dr Jacob Berson, has been studying dung beetles’ role in our agriculture systems. While quite populous across the State, many people in the agriculture industry aren’t aware of these little guys’ benefits. The RALFs were tasked with finding growers to complete surveys with the PhD students in this team, to finalise their research and get this knowledge out there. It was a nice opportunity to show UWA what the RALFs are here to do, connect growers and research, and provide the platform for collaboration. We were happy to help! If you’re interested in completing the survey and helping with Dung Beetle research, get in contact with us.
On day two, the RALFs visited the team at C-Wise, an nnovative commercial composting business, who were more than happy to explain the ropes. Andy Gulliver, co-owner, explained the art and science of composting and its role in recycling organic carbon. The uptake of using composting in broadscale agriculture is met with several challenges, including transporting the material to remote areas. The RLAFs are hoping to help boost the adoption of composting in our regions, making production systems more circular and taking the next step towards a sustainable future. NACC NRM are currently running a trial on compost application!
After all our indoor catch ups, it was great to get out and about with Hopeland grower Mark Thomas, who has been working with RALF Mick Davis to fence off and protect a conservation status wetland in his grazing system. It’s always awesome to see firsthand what other RALFs are up to and to learn how Mick interacts and supports the growers in his region. Great work, Mick!
The NACC NRM RALFs and Peel-Harvey RALF Mick Davis put together a fabulous program. It was a great opportunity to not onhly catch up but to learn from each other too. The WA RALDs carry a wealth of knowledge in connecting and collaborating. Walking away from another catch up, with greater connections in researcg and industry to bring home to our growers means we can bring new, innovative and efective opportunities into our regions that help us reach a sustainable agricultural future.
Thank you to everyone involved. This project is supported by Perth NRM, Peel Harvy Catchments Council, NACC NRM, South Coast NRM, Southwest Catchments Council, Wheatbelt NRM and Rangelands NRM thorugh funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.