Serpentine Jarrahdale Food and Farm Alliance (SJFFA) has been supporting five farmers in the northern Peel-Harvey Coastal Catchment over the past 12 months to trial use of compost on paddocks used for broadacre grazing. The trials have been aimed at improving farmer’s understanding of soil requirements and water holding capacity associated with the use of compost. No inorganic fertilisers or additives were used as part of the trials, except seasol in one trial.
On Thursday 28th November SJFFA showcased the trial results at a Regenerative Pasture Field Day on one of the participating farms in Serpentine. All sites were assessed and monitored for pH, carbon levels and pasture nutrient density, with some sites also being measured for water penetration and water-holding capacity.
Preliminary trial results have indicated that the application of compost has increased water penetrability, soil water-holding capacity, pasture sugar levels, carbon levels, and microbiological activity. On one site with non-wetting soils where compost was applied, water infiltration improved from 50 minutes to 10 minutes.
Just as importantly, the trial provided an opportunity for farmer peer-to-peer learning where participating farmers have been able to learn from each other. All farmers were supported by SJFFA and Deb Archdeacon from Agronomica, who provided guidance on trial design and use of soil testing and plant tissue analysis.
More information on the trial results and Deb’s presentation from the Field Day will be available on the SJFFA website. Contact SJFFA for further information at https://www.sjfoodandfarmalliance.com.au/
The Regenerative Farming Compost Trials Project was funded by the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program, Landcare SJ, C Wise, with advice and support from PHCC’s RALF, Paula Pownall.