In 2009, $610 000 was provided through the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) and $500 000 through the State Natural Resource Management (NRM) Program for the development of initiatives that now underpin the Fertiliser Partnership. This investment delivered the following achievements:
- Trials were conducted on the uptake of phosphorus at different fertiliser application rates and on low water soluble phosphate fertiliser alternatives.
- Demonstration of soil testing and nutrient mapping using trial results and industry knowledge conducted on volunteer farms.
- Development of critical soil test phosphorus values for beef and dairy farming (SPANA – Soil Productivity And Nutrient Assistant) developed in consultation with the Grazing Working Group, Western Dairy, South West Catchment Council, DAFWA and demonstrated to farmers.
- Manufacturers and industry advisors have adopted the guidance (SPANA) in their business.
- Manufacturers Working Group, independent experts and agencies developed the basis for regulation of domestic use packaged fertiliser.
- Regulations promulgated to establish lower levels of phosphorous and nitrogen in domestic use fertilisers.
- Urban Users Group revised guidelines for managing turf in the urban setting and developed guidance on home gardens and lawns.
- Soil Amendment Working Group established a detailed testing regime for assessing soil amendments that raise the phosphorus retention index in soils.
- Barriers to the approval and development of a program to assess and accredit soils amendments identified and the foundations laid for an accreditation process under the Fertiliser Partnership.
- improving fertiliser management and efficiency in urban and rural catchments
- continuing the trial of nutrient absorbent materials as soil amendments to improve nutrient and moisture retention on rural properties
- reducing excessive nutrient loads entering the rivers, particularly from the urban stormwater drainage systems.
- increase knowledge and awareness of good fertiliser management practices by landholders and representatives in the fertiliser service industry
- reduce unnecessary phosphorus use by the grazing industry to reduce long term phosphorus inflows to coastal waterways.
- Undertake strategic retrofitting of water sensitive urban design in existing urban areas.
- Understand the nutrient dynamics of the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands.
- Undertake extensive and ongoing monitoring and modelling in the catchment to inform management actions and assess success of nutrient reduction.
In 2014, further funding of $2.85m was provided through the State NRM Program for the implementation of three projects under the banner of the Fertiliser Partnership.
Swan Canning Water Quality Improvement
The Swan River Trust received $1.5m to improve water quality in the Swan and Canning rivers by:
Whole farm nutrient mapping
DAFWA received $1m to undertake whole farm nutrient mapping on more than 200 farms in order to:
Vasse-Wonnerup Water Quality Improvement Plan
The Department of Water received $350 000 to implement stormwater retrofitting upgrades in the Geographe catchment to reduce nutrients from urban areas entering the wetlands and bay.
This project will implement three key management actions: