As part of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Innovation and Systems Change program, which is funded through its partnership with the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, Farmacist Mackay is working with local growers to develop innovative ways to establish multispecies break crops.
The major aims of the project are to:
Investigate affordable planting equipment suitable for various seed sizes
Investigate the impact on soil health and water quality run off from planting multispecies crops
Build knowledge regarding crop management, for example weed control, termination timing, species selection, etc.
Complying with the new reef regulations, extended bare fallows are no longer allowed, so planting non-invasive multispecies fallows are a great alternative to other fallow crops.
Through the project, 3 air seeders and a small spreader have been made available to growers to trial multispecies cropping. These seeders have been retrofitted to existing implements to provide a cost-effective means of planting different seed sizes. The implements include cane harvester, wavy discs, rotary hoe, bed renovator, fertiliser bin, and harrows.
Numerous trial and demonstration sites have also been established throughout the Mackay-Whitsunday region to capture the actual changes in soil chemical, physical and biological properties after planting a multispecies crop. To date these comparisons have been positive and a summary of all results will be available in late 2023.
Many challenges have arisen from growing multispecies crops and the project team has developed processes and management strategies to overcome these concerns. For instance, controlling grass weeds and sugarcane regrowth in multi species crops can be controlled using a broadleaf multispecies mix and a grass specific herbicide.
More demonstration sites are currently being established with field walks planned for mid-late 2023.
Over the upcoming months, follow our progress right here on our website and Facebook, or call our office on 4959 7075 for more information.