Group sees trial re­sults

Pilbara News - - News -

Un­der­stand­ing the po­ten­tial of ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture in the Pil­bara is a step closer, as the re­sults of a re­mote ir­ri­ga­tion trial were shared with pas­toral­ists, tra­di­tional own­ers, min­ers and Govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives at Woodie Woodie re­cently.

The group at­tended a walk­ing tour hosted by the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Food WA to learn the re­sults of a pi­o­neer­ing project test­ing the use of sur­plus mine de­wa­ter for ir­ri­gated crops.

DAFWA project man­ager Chris Schelfhout said the trial was de­signed to test the lo­gis­tics of run­ning an ir­ri­ga­tion op­er­a­tion in the Pil­bara, as well as the im­pacts of re­ly­ing on sur­plus de­wa­ter for ir­ri­ga­tion to grow fod­der crops.

The first trial crops of sorghum, Rhodes grass, lucerne and trop­i­cal legumes were planted in Septem­ber, 2015 and grown over the summer months.

Planted in May, 2016, the win­ter trial pro­gram as­sessed a range of ce­real and legume grain and fod­der crops.

Mr Schelfhout said the trial demon­strated the ca­pac­ity to yield high ton­nages of qual­ity fod­der.

“There was par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in the mixed-species tri­als at the site, in­clud­ing a clover-oats-vetch mix which of­fered a good bal­ance in feed qual­ity,” he said.

“While the Pil­bara cli­mate sup­ports the growth of biomass, it is im­por­tant to fo­cus on the qual­ity of fod­der pro­duced, es­pe­cially if it is des­tined for an in­ten­sive cat­tle feed­ing op­er­a­tion.”

DAFWA ir­ri­ga­tion de­vel­op­ment and agribusi­ness act­ing di­rec­tor Vicki McAl­lis­ter said on-site dis­cus­sions with pas­toral­ists in the Pil­bara re­vealed a high level of in­ter­est in ir­ri­gated agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment in the re­gion.

“Peo­ple are keen to learn and ac­cess sci­en­tific re­search and ex­per­tise which they can use to in­form their busi­ness de­ci­sions,” she said. The 38ha cen­tre pivot was es­tab­lished on War­rawagine Sta­tion in the eastern Pil­bara, 190km south-east of Mar­ble Bar.

The Woodie Woodie site takes its name from the nearby Woodie Woodie man­ganese mine which pro­vided the source of de­wa­ter for the trial pe­riod.

“Nu­mer­ous mines in the Pil­bara de­wa­ter,” Mr Schelfhout said.

“How­ever, the sup­ply is of­ten dy­namic, mak­ing it chal­leng­ing to se­cure a con­sis­tent sup­ply for agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment.”

DAFWA’s North­ern Beef Fu­tures project also co-lo­cated a weed risk field nurs­ery and ad­di­tional small plot tri­als at the site.

The trial re­sults are be­ing col­lated into a re­port and will be made pub­licly avail­able via DAFWA’s web­site.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.