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Project Innovation:

Multispecies Fallow

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:

  1. Investigate affordable planting equipment suitable for various seed sizes

  2. Investigate the impact on soil health and water quality run off from planting multispecies crops

  3. 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.

Multispecies Fallow resources

Trial Results - Multispecies project

By Che Trendell, Extension Agornomist and project manager.


Air Seeder Fact Sheet

By Che Trendell, Extension Agornomist and project manager.


Multispecies Break Crop Fact Sheet

By Che Trendell, Extension Agronomist and project manager.


Air Seeder Case Study

Farmacist Extension Agronomist Cameron Turnbull talks to Mackay grower Grant about how he uses the air seeder for his multispecies fallow.


Healthy Soils Symposium

Che Trendell (Farmacist Senior Extension Agronomist) presents in Mackay November 2022.


Air Seeder Behind Harvester

Farmacist developed a game-changing way to apply mixed seeds behind the harvester in an industry first innovation.


Practice Change in Sugarcane

Practice change using mixed species fallow cropping. By Project Catalyst.


Part 1 - Practice Change

Part 1 - Practice change using mixed species fallow cropping. By Project Catalyst.


Making a Difference with Multispecies Cropping

A grower sought to make changes in 2021 to help reduce cultivation, compaction, soil movement and maintain a green root on a block susceptible to erosion.


Project Catalyst Forum

Che Trendell (Farmacist) presents at the Project Catalyst Forum 2021.


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