Over the past 25 years the Harden-Murrumburrah Landcare Group have held major events and participated in important farming and revegetation trials. Some of these projects have changed the understanding and acceptance of natural resource management methods and farming practices in the region and across the state. Projects that are currently underway, many of which have been on-going for several years, are described below. Completed projects are described in the Project Archive and some of our major projects are also collected on the Major Projects page.
The Trouble with Sub (2015 - present)
Anecdotally in NSW it has been observed that pasture legumes appear to have become ineffectual, either not persisting or failing to thrive in pastures. Recent research has shown that 45% of legumes (in both permanent pastures and rotation with crops in mixed systems) in sampled paddocks in WA have had inadequate nodulation.
Harden Murrumburrah Landcare Group has received funding from Riverina Local Land Services Strategic Partnerships to work in conjunction with Young District and Eastern Riverina Landcare Groups, Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc., Cross Property Planning Groups, Riverina Highland Landcare Network and Temora Agricultural Bureau to undertake this project to determine:
whether there are measurable growth and nodulation issues with pasture legumes in medium/high rainfall areas of the Riverina; and, if so,
the factors that may be contributing to this decline,e.g. soil restrictions, inadequate nodulation, false autumn breaks, etc.
As part of this project 100 paddocks containing sub clover will be surveyed, from the shires of Wagga, Lockhart, Coolamon, Bland, Temora, Junee, Cootamundra, Gundagai, Young, Harden and Tumut. The rhizobia nodulation and strain identification will be initially surveyed at the end of July. A second farm visit in October will samples for nitrogen fixation effectiveness.
This project is working closely with other relevant MLA/GRDC funded projects. This project has been funded by the National Landcare Programme and Riverina Local Land Services.
Matching Crop Inputs with Potential Yield in the Harden district
with the "Yield Prophet" decision-support tool
Yield Prophet is an on-line crop production model designed to present grain growers with real-time information about their crops. Yield Prophet generates crop simulations and reports to assist in decision making. By matching crop inputs with potential yield and soil moisture in a given season growers may avoid over- or under- investing in their crop.
In 2015, this project established 25 Yield Prophet sites throughout the Harden, Young and Cootamundra areas on different soil types and made the monthly reports available to farmers and consultants via the Yield Prophet portal on the HMLG website.
The project will be repeated in 2017.
Across the Fenceline
Real-time soil water measurements to aid crop management
In its current form, Across the Fenceline measures and compares changes in crop-available water in different paddocks, usually under different crops, on either side of a fence line. This enables growers to not only know the current soil water status of their crop, but to compare the water use of different crops and/or different management across the fenceline. The title also reflects the value gained by landholders discussing and comparing their paddock experiences "across the fenceline" with their neighbours.
Across the Fenceline began as a collaborative initiative of the Harden Murrumburrah Landcare Group and CSIRO. It was originally proposed as a project to monitor deep drainage under different management practices in the Jugiong Creek Catchment, at a time when the leakage of excess water from beneath crops was widely thought to be contributing to groundwater recharge and the extensive occurrence of dryland salinity in the area. HMLG rightly believed that to be able to control deep drainage by paddock management they first needed to be able to measure it, and were enthusiastic about a new device (a "drainage meter") then being developed within CSIRO to do just that. With the onset of the drought coinciding with the establishment of the project, the project evolved into one monitoring plant-available soil water and continues as such to this day (see Across the Fenceline).
The project's origins date back to 1999, when the Harden Tillage Trial site became the first test site for the drainage meter. Its success inspired the development of a funding proposal for a National Heritage Grant (awarded in 2001) to cover the infrastructure costs of establishing five on-farm paddock comparison sites - comparing soil moisture and deep drainage in two paddocks with different management on either side of a fenceline.
The original project lapsed in 2011 with the end of the involvement of CSIRO and the need to replace equipment. It was revived in 2013, and the measurement and reporting program came into full swing again mid-way through 2014.
At various times the project has been supported by Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Delta Agribusiness, Woolworths Ltd, Landcare Australia, National Heritage Trust and GRDC, as well as receiving in-kind support from CSIRO.