This month the W.A. Department of Agriculture and Food released a report card on the condition of the State’s agricultural area. It summarises the current status and trend of 10 key indicators of land condition.
Department Agriculture Resource Risk Management Executive Director John Ruprecht said at its release that the Report Card for sustainable natural resource use in agriculture in W.A. provided a unique insight into the challenges for the region to remain productive and sustainable.
“It is important to look at the productive capacity of our soil and water, which underpin the long-term profitability of our agrifood sector,” Mr Ruprecht said. “The report card shows the situation and outlook for our natural resources are mixed. Although progress has been made in some areas, such as managing wind and water erosion, the trend for other indicators is adverse. Soils in the agricultural region are becoming increasingly acid and water repellent. Soil compaction is becoming a more widespread issue while dryland salinity continues to be a constraint.”
Mr Ruprecht said an interesting finding was that many agricultural soils had more phosphorus than required for optimal production. Reducing the phosphorus applied could have both economic benefits as well as reducing loss of nutrients off the farm to other areas. “This document draws on existing data from the department and industry to provide a detailed analysis on the status of our agricultural land, backed by robust scientific evidence,” he said.