Report card targets land condition


A report card on the condition of the State's agricultural area to guide future land management has been released.

The report on sustainable natural resource use in agriculture, produced by the Department of Agriculture and Food, summarises the current status and trend of 10 key indicators of land condition.

Department Agriculture Resource Risk Management Executive Director John Ruprecht said the document provided a unique insight into the challenges for the region to remain productive and sustainable.

"It is important to look at the productive capacity of our soil and water, which underpin the long-term profitability of our agrifood sector," Mr Ruprecht said. "The report card shows the situation and outlook for our natural resources are mixed.

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"Although progress has been made in some areas, such as managing wind and water erosion, the trend for other indicators is adverse.

"Soils in the agricultural region are becoming increasingly acid and water repellent.

"Soil compaction is becoming a more widespread issue while dryland salinity continues to be a constraint."

The report card was released at the 'Productive land and water, healthy environment' forum last week to provide a 'think tank' on sustainable resource use.

Mr Ruprecht said an interesting finding was that many agricultural soils had more phosphorus than required for optimal production. Reducing the phosphorus applied could have both economic benefits as well as reducing loss of nutrients off the farm to other areas.

He said the report card was a valuable resource for the department, other State and Commonwealth organisations, community groups and growers.

"This document draws on existing data from the department and industry to provide a detailed analysis on the status of our agricultural land, backed by robust scientific evidence," he said.

"It will assist the department to prioritise our investments in sustainable land management, as well as developing responsible farming systems that both optimise production potential and protect land and water resources for use by future generations.

"I encourage those involved in the agrifood industry and in natural resource management to examine this report."

Copies of the report card are available online from agric.wa.gov.au

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