Mixed crop grant offered for farmers

PROGRAM: Andrew Freeman of WildEyre and Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula's Liz McTaggart are excited about the mixed species flax and linseed crops. Picture: Supplied
PROGRAM: Andrew Freeman of WildEyre and Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula's Liz McTaggart are excited about the mixed species flax and linseed crops. Picture: Supplied

Farmers throughout Eyre Peninsula are being encouraged to apply for a mixed species cropping grant with the purpose of undertaking mixed species summer and winter crops for 2019-20.

Mixed species pastures and summer cover cropping improves soil health, plant diversity, increasing organic matter, controlling weeds, improved grazing and seed harvesting.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula regenerative agriculture project officer Mary Crawford said expressions of interest for grant funding of up to $10,000 were now open to participate in these demonstrations.

She said funding made available through the federal government's National Landcare Program would provide Eyre Peninsula farmers the opportunity to undertake paddock demonstrations in spring to obtain a better understanding of which pasture and cropping species worked in their soil and climatic conditions.

"This mixed species cropping project, which is funded for the next four years, involves farmers setting up a long term demonstration of mixed species winter and summer cover crops and monitoring the results.

"Landholders choose a paddock to demonstrate the success of a variety of plants and measure them against a control paddock.

"Designing a multi-species annual cover crop means incorporating a mix of cereals, brassica and legumes according to winter or summer sowing opportunities."

Farmers, and groups interested in exploring the value of mixed species cropping this spring, are invited to apply.

The guidelines and applications forms are available on the Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula website.

A field day was held at Ungarra on June 21 for farmers who wanted to know more about the mixed species program.

Guest speaker Jess Gunn from PIRSA's South Australian Research and Development Institute provided an update on the dryland legume system program and local farmers will share their mixed species cropping experiences.