Kimberley pastoralists, agribusinesses, consultants and interested community members are invited to a field walk of irrigated pasture and fodder trials for beef production by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
Scheduled for Tuesday 13 November at the Water Corporation's pivot irrigation site in Broome, the event will include a range of trials, including alternatives to Rhodes grass, annual fodder crops, tropical and temperate legumes and novel crops.
Department research officer Geoff Moore said this year’s irrigated agronomy trials by the mosaic agriculture team would be highlighted at the field walk.
“Our work continues on evaluating alternatives to Rhodes grass, including perennial grasses, kikuyu, panic grass and Jarra grass, which early results indicate may be easier to manage under direct grazing,” Mr Moore said.
“The outcome of annual fodder trials featuring millets and hybrid sorghums will be detailed and participants can view the performance of tropical legume demonstration trials featuring lab lab, cowpea, centro, butterfly pea and temperate legumes, including tedera and lucerne varieties.”
The irrigated forage research is co-funded by the MLA Donor Company.
Mr Moore said a project assessing the feasibility of developing a sterile leucaena as a high-quality forage legume shrub for northern Australia would also be on the program.
“Participants will have an opportunity to visit the leucaena nursery, which features a diverse range of leucaena species.
“The project is exploring strategies to breed a sterile leucaena by applying novel breeding and molecular technologies which, if successful, should significantly reduce the weed risk for northern Western Australia.”
Development officer Sam Crouch is supporting the research and will discuss the establishment of leucaena adaptation field sites in the northern rangelands.
The sterile leucaena work is funded by the MLA Donor Company and in collaboration with the University of Queensland.
Senior development officer Chris Ham will present the results of fine tuning irrigation scheduling.
Water Corporation North West Regional Manager Rino Trolio said the utility looked forward to welcoming everyone onsite.
“In Broome, we use recycled water from the Broome North Wastewater Treatment Plant to irrigate Rhodes grass, which is harvested every six to eight weeks and sold to local farmers,” he said.
Mr Trolio said sale proceeds were used to fund Water Corporation’s West Kimberley Community Grants Scheme, which provided grants to not-for-profit organisations and community groups in the West Kimberley.
Water Corporation’s Broome North Wastewater Treatment Plant is located just off Crab Creek Road, near 12 Mile.
More information about the field walk is available on the department website agric.wa.gov.au.
Media contact: Jodie Thomson/Dionne Tindale, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937