Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Western Endeavour - Issue No.: 832 Issue Date: 11 Nov, 2018

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Future Farm

Future Farm
2050 project.
University of Western Australia
 
Our club-The Rotary Club of Western Endeavour along with Como Rotary visited the University of Western Australia Future Farm on Sunday 21 October 2018
 
The University’s Institute of Agriculture is the umbrella research organisation shaping the future of all agriculture in WA including the Future Farm
 
More specifically the Future Farm is a 1600 hectare property located near Pingelly in the West Australian dryland wheat belt, named Ridgefield
 
It is managed as a profitable enterprise while researching merino sheep, cereal crops, forage systems, soil viability and native ecosystems. It also attempts to be a social/community hub for the small Pingelly shire.
 
Professor Graeme Martin conducted our tour of Ridgefield, which commenced with his presentation.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY

Graeme highlighted the need to feed a burgeoning global population. There may well be 3.5 Bn MORE people alive by 2050. Arable land use is not yet being sustained.
 

HOW TO CONVERT TRADITIONAL WHEAT BELT PROPERTIES TO BECOME SUSTAINABLE WITHIN A 30 YEAR TIME FRAME.

Policy and practice at Ridgefield Future Farm is designed to showcase sustainability for Dryland Farming on Ancient thin relatively infertile soils.
Historically, the wheat belt has been cleared of native vegetation and crops planted with added fertiliser and pesticides. Farms have tended to expand to utilise broad acre heavy machinery.
Live stock mainly sheep have been husbanded for both fleece and meat including live export.
 

HERE ARE SOME FARM ISSUES AND ATTEMPTED SOLUTIONS

Rainfall, drought, frost and Water Retention. They are interlocking problems. Climate change has modified the weather patterns. 
Ridgefield has installed a super size dam.
Rainfall is directed in channels to dams. Water Runoff is mitigated by planting native shrubs.
Frost is monitored by drones. What can prevent it?
Soil Retention. Thin, mineral depleted soils are not ploughed. Runoff is controlled. Eventually super phosphate and nitrate additives may be replaced, meanwhile organic fertilisers are being trialled.
Crop rotation research is ongoing.
Livestock. Ridgefield runs Merino sheep. They buy and sell. They don’t have a stud. They don’t ?muels the sheep. They use chemical prevention against blowies. The research will breed out long wool prone to blow fly strike.
Hedgerows of native saltbush and eremophila vegetation make edible drought resistant forage vs planted crops and grasses.
Focussed on clean green tasty meat from happy sheep.
Lambing near these hedgerows enables 35% better survival in poor weather.
Cropping. Ridgefield has designed innovative machines to operate in its smaller fields.
Biodiversity. Ridgefield has re-established native vegetation in difficult to crop areas. The concept is to prevent soil erosion and provide safe harbour for native birds and animals.

Innovation.

As well as specialised seeding and harvesting machinery the farm uses virtual fencing, in field data collection, solar power and big data processing to make predictions.

Community.

The Future Farm encourages community involvement so farmers will see the benefits of the research. Future Farm built a sustainable flat pack cost efficient home for the farm management.
Thanks to the organisers of the visit especially Professor s Graeme Martin and Lyn Abbott who guided the clubs.
For more information
 
 

Author: Marcus Harris

Published: 27 October, 2018

 


Meeting Rosters
Date
Host
Thanks & Cleanup
3 minute bio
Setup
Writer
13 Nov, 18
Chris Ford
Chris Ford
John Boxall
Chris Ford
Byron Williamson
27 Nov, 18
Marcus Harris
Marcus Harris
 
Marcus Harris
Donna Thornton
11 Dec, 18
Barrie Heald
Barrie Heald
Peter Batskos
Marcus Harris
John Boxall
Upcoming Events
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Event Name
 
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Time
Reg. By
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Rosalie Primary School
Sat, 17 Nov, 18
10:00am
12 Nov, 18
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