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DustWatch survey results demonstrate the benefits of sustainable farming methods

A recent report detailing landscape conditions in the Western Region has revealed a number of
positive trends which would be to the benefit of farmers and community members alike.

For more than a decade, Western Local Land Services and its predecessors have been
monitoring landscape conditions using dust as an indicator.

The most recent data to become available is from the DustWatch Network and Roadside Survey
2016.

The main points to emerge from the report were:

  • best management practices are increasing in the cropping lands of the south-west of the
    region
  • groundcover levels were better than expected
  • that the land was managed more sustainably
  • that the level of collaboration is high and effective in delivering knowledge, skills and
    changes to behaviour.

Manager of Land Services with Local Land Services Western Region, Russell Grant, was
pleased to see the positive results and has encouraged all landholders and community members
to read the report.

“The results from this report demonstrate that investing in best-practice farming methods,
including stubble retention and chemical fallow, can significantly reduce the amount of valuable
topsoil lost through wind erosion,” Mr Grant said.

“The DustWatch survey reveals the landscape has been more sustainably managed throughout
a number of areas as there were less hours of dust compared to the benchmark which has been
set from data collected over the past 11 years.

“The Western Region is going better than it has done previously and that is great to see.”

Of the 250 or so people that completed a survey for the DustWatch Network and Roadside
Survey 2016, over 90% said they had increased their knowledge about wind erosion, groundcover and land management, while over 70% said they or their organisation used the information
DustWatch provides.

The DustWatch Network and Roadside Survey 2016 was made possible by a grant the Local
Land Services Western Region received through the National Landcare Programme.

Media contact: Charlie Whiteley 02 5852 1207