The day started with a free breakfast followed by a Soils presentation from Bob Hetherington, Farmer from Lake King. Bob has spent many years studying the elements in the soil and the changes occurring especially after investigating the role that calcium has in the soil. His presentation was well received by the keen crowd that attended as the results are from his own farm trials and his talk was based around farming methods and techniques which now work best for him.
After smoko, the bus made its way to North Kukerin where the 2004 fire had passed through a lump of bush located near a shed site. This area was a good example for Mitch Davies from the Parks and Wildlife Department in Katanning to explain bush regeneration and changes in the flora composition following a fire.
Next stop was the Beynon Road Drainage system that was installed in the mid 1990’s. Lee Smith, being one of the new farm owners explained how the system was improving the land near the drain and where bladder clover has established. The intention is to crop the reclaimed area and continue to work on improving the land.
A lunch break was taken at the old Mt Pleasant School site during which time Eric Hall from the Planfarm Office in Narrogin enlightened the crowd on farm commodity production within the world arena and general trends effecting farming practices and pricing.
After lunch saltland reclamation sites installed 20 years before were inspected and compared with the current methods of re-vegetating and fencing salt creeklines with a mix of trees and salt tolerant shrubs and saltbush as effective understorey.
The tour finished with the inspection of a site where the rocks gone technique has changed waste land into a viable cropping area and several sites re managing and harvesting water were also viewed. The tour provided an insight into a range of activities available to reclaim or manage saline effected farmland and the importance of protecting natural bush lands.
‘This Tour was supported by the South West Catchments Council’s Regional Landcare Facilitator Programme, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.’
Article by C.Hadlow