Joining forces to improve farm sustainability, 14 intrepid volunteers trekked from Perth and Geraldton to Gabalong with the goal to plant 20,000 native seedlings – or as many as they possibly could!
Agricultural and natural resource management professionals and other eager individuals made the journey to the Shire of Victoria Plans on Monday 17 July to help out farm owners Les and Julie Crane.
Les and Julie have been farming their family mixed enterprise (cattle, grains, canola and sheep) at Gabalong for nearly 50 years. Over that time, they have seen the land and climate change and have been taking proactive steps to make their farm more resilient.
One of their chosen methods is to increase the number of trees on their property to manage on-farm water resources and soil salinity, which is an ongoing issue for this inland area. Last year they almost single-handedly planted 10,000 seedlings, which added to the original 10,000 seedlings in 2021.
“The trees we are planting today are a part of our plan to make the farm more resilient to salinity and drought”, said Les.
The busy bee planting day was organised by Perth NRM’s Sustainable Agriculture Senior Manager David Broadhurst after conversations with Les Crane about implementing drought resilient practices.
“We were discussing drought-related issues and Les mentioned his key constraint was getting reliable labour into the rural areas,” said David, “Les used his annual tree planting as an example and I offered to help.”
They were joined by other volunteers from the Conservation Council WA, Down Syndrome WA and the Northern Agricultural Catchment Council. Under a bright sunny sky and pleasant cool breeze, the group were able to plant 5,500 seedlings, including Anemeka Saltbush and other hardy natives, before returning home.
A huge thanks to everyone who made the journey and contributed including the volunteers, Perth NRM staff, Northern Agricultural Catchment Council, and the Moora Landcare Centre for their assistance.
This event was funded by Lotterywest in support of the South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub as a part of the Australian Governments Future Drought Fund.