University of Western Australia
Natural sequence farming (NSF) is an approach to restoring degraded agricultural land, developed by Peter Andrews on his property Tarwyn Park in New South Wales. The approach aims to rehydrate the landscape by slowing the movement of water with a series of structures and then using this water to drive plant growth and improve soil function.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development engaged the University of Western Australia to review the applicability, efficacy and risks associated with using NSF principles and practices in the south-west dryland agricultural zone in Western Australia. The review has combined information from the literature, relevant case studies and findings from interviews with knowledge holders and stakeholders.
The review identified that NSF might be suitable or applicable for:
- the rejuvenated and steeply sloped catchments near the Darling Scarp of the Avon Basin (e.g. Toodyay, Northam, York areas)
- areas of the Chapman Valley (Sugarloaf System)
- the higher rainfall and hydrologically connected catchments draining to the coast from Perth to Esperance (the south-west and south coastal areas of WA)
- limited areas of sandplain systems in the Swan Coastal Plain and Perth Basin with no salinity risk
- applying with caution in sandplain systems in the medium rainfall zone with no present surface salinity issues (e.g. Meckering and Wongan Hills area), and on skeletal soils in rejuvenated systems where rainfall is above 350 mm, and some similar land systems along the south coast.
However, in relation to dryland salinity, NSF interventions in most hydrozones are considered likely to exacerbate current salinity risk. The impact on water erosion was assessed as depending on site-specific factors such as the scale, design and quality of construction for flow control structures on hillslopes and in-channel leaky weirs. Increased groundcover will likely improve the land condition in relation to raindrop impact and related water erosion.
Number of Pages
natural sequence farming, dryland agriculture, south-west Western Australia
Callow, N, and Bell, R. (2021), The applicability, efficacy and risks of natural sequence farming in the dryland agricultural zone of south west Western Australia. University of Western Australia, Perth. Report.
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