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Shelterbelts
 
Problem

The Midwest grows some of the best cereal and lupin crops in Australia. However the soils are very fragile with the dominant soil type being non-wetting sand. Soil erosion is a major problem, especially when the paddocks have just been sown to crop and at the end of summer when the stubbles have deteriorated.

The top few centimetres of soil is usually the most fertile and most valuable for crop and pasture production. While the loss of a few millimetres of soil during a heavy downpour or windstorm may not seem critical, the impact over time on farm productivity and fertiliser requirements over a generation can be devastating.
 
Kitton trees

Photo: Shelterbelt of Eucalyptus in Mullewa, WA (275 mm rainfall pa)
 
Solution

This Midwest farmer has re-fenced his property to optimise tram-lining and decrease the size of the paddocks to 150-180 hectares. All new fences are planted with trees during the lupin rotation which decrease the affect chemical spraying will have on the trees.

Strategic belts running east west will enable the long-term minimised the affect of shadows on the crop.
Benefits of a well- planned shelterbelt include:
  • Protection of the topsoil from damaging winds especially at the beginning of winter and summer when the paddocks are most vulnerable
  • Stock protection
  • Filter system for chemical drift
  • Additional feed through the planting of grazing belts
Well-planned belts can become wildlife corridors and have a carbon credit value.
 
Shelterbelts Newdegate

Photo: Shelterbalt of oil mallees. This belt will help filter damaging winds and has the potential to provide carbon credits.
Newdegate WA (350 mm rainfall pa)
 
Roadside

Photo: 18-year-old shelterbelt Quairading WA (300 mm rainfall pa)
 
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