Waste Management, Soil Health and Water Use

In December, The Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators (RALF’s) from all over the State congregated in Perth for a professional development catch up.

This provided a worthwhile opportunity to meet and learn from some innovative landholders and landcare-related businesses as well as a chance to catch up with fellow RALF’s, discuss common challenges and learn from each other’s experiences.

The first site visit was to the UWA Shenton Park Field Station, to check out a project being developed by Future Green Solutions. Eight years ago, Luke Wheat was looking for a solution to divert organic waste from landfill whilst creating a useful commercial end product. From humble beginnings in a Geraldton backyard, Future Green Solutions has developed the Black Soldier Fly organic waste process.

More information, including details of the by-products, can be found here. They are set to commercialise in 2021. If all goes well, there are potential opportunities to run regional satellite modules. This could significantly impact organic waste management and provide a win for the environment by keeping more organic waste out of landfill. 

The afternoon saw us head up to Wanerie. First stop Worrolong Produce, where Tom Mitchell, his wife Emma and their two daughters produce citrus and pumpkins. The Mitchell’s have been taking a more biological approach to their farming business since 2012.  As well as maintaining groundcover, using compost extracts and reducing cultivation, they have eliminated fungicides from their operation, and massively reduced their use of pesticides. The Mitchell’s also use soil moisture monitoring technology on their property.  This provides real-time soil moisture data for the citrus trees, allowing informed decisions to be made on irrigation requirements, and increasing their water use efficiency.

We then headed over the road to meet the neighbours, Mary Ann and John O’Connor. They also farm citrus and pumpkins. The O’Connor’s have 7 soil moisture monitors installed on their property and have been involved with a 2018 Smart Farms Small Grants project. The project, delivered by Perth NRM looked at improving producer irrigation and nutrient management capabilities.   

For NACC NRM RALF Lizzie King, some highlights included seeing the adoption of technology that improves NRM outcomes; having an opportunity to discuss common challenges with other RALF’s and; being inspired by new ideas to follow up in 2021.

A huge thanks to all of the RALF’s and NRM regions, especially Graham McAlpine of Perth NRM for pulling together a successful schedule.

If you would like more information, please contact our RALF team:

Annabelle Garratt (E) Annabelle.Garratt@nacc.com.au or (P) 0448 986 879 or Lizzie King (E) Lizzie.King@nacc.com.au or (P) 0447 361 335

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