Study tour explores WA supply chain

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Eastern states farmers compared notes with their WA counterparts at last week’s Innovation Generation study tour.

Almost 30 growers attended the tour, which was an extension of the GrainGrowers’ Innovation Generation Conference held in Fremantle.

The group explored all parts of WA’s agricultural supply chain, including the CBH port terminal, broadacre and livestock operations.

GrainGrowers national business development manager Georgie Aley said the visitors gained insights into the challenges facing WA growers.

“The majority of the people on the tour were from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, ” she said.

“It was an opportunity to compare farming systems.

“We run full black soils at home (in NSW), so to come here and see how farmers work with sandy soils is mind-blowing for some of these growers.”

The tour focused on Best Environmental Technology’s soil rejuvenator TM Agricultural.

Casuarina producer Shane Collins invited growers onto his farm to learn about the product’s use in WA.

Mr Collins said the product helped reduce input costs and increase fertility on his sandy soils. “We’ve been using TM for six years and our input costs are coming back by up to 20 per cent, ” he said.

“We are getting better crop establishment on our non-wetting sands.”

NSW farmer and Best Environmental Technology manager Andrew Bowman was impressed with the results on Mr Collins’s farm.

“It is amazing what people are doing in such harsh conditions, ” he said.

“We run 2000 acres (800 hectares) of black alluvial floodplains and 3000 acres (1200ha) of red grazing country.

“We’ve been using TM Agricultural for two years. It increases native biological activity in the soil, which increases fertiliser efficiency.”

Buntine farmer Stuart McAlpine addressed tour participants about TM Agricultural’s use in the region.

He said the product reignited his passion for farming, by reducing his reliance on chemical inputs.

“Once you start looking at soil biology, the whole game changes, ” he said.

“If you over apply fertiliser, you shut down the plant’s ability to activate its own natural mechanisms.”

Information about TM Agricultural trial results are available from the Liebe Group.

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