A new fundraising program in Mullewa involving the establishment of a community farm has raised $110,000 for local projects.
Mullewa Community Farm, which began in 2016, relies on inputs donated by businesses and labour donated by locals to spray, harvest and sell crops.
Mullewa farmer Kim Keefe, who is part of the inaugural management committee, said the town had to find a new way to raise money for local groups when funding ran out from the Mt Gibson iron ore community trust.
“We approached the Geraldton council to buy some land out here with money from the trust and managed to secure a five-year lease, but we’re still looking for something to buy,” Mr Keefe said.
CRT Mullewa Farm Supplies owner Glenn Bryant, who is also on the committee, said he managed to get several businesses on board to help with the program.
“We’ve had help from suppliers in donating inputs, which helps reduce the costs of putting the crop in,” Mr Bryant said.
“We end up having more money to give back to the community.
“We made about $110,000 from the crop, so $55,000 will be available to the community in 2017, and the rest will be banked in case of drought.”
He said a few tonnes of Trojan wheat seed was donated and then sown in late April 2016.
While MCF had lease land, Mr Keefe wanted to plant the wheat on his paddock due to the low weed burden.
“I wanted a clean paddock to work with and this one was lupin stubble, so it had the best possible start.”
Mr Keefe said although rainfall was below average, good starting rain and a cool finish ensured the crop’s success.
“We just had 30mm of rain, so it was wet enough to germinate well. Everything looked a picture through the season.
“We had just over 200mm of GSR and 240mm for the year, which is below average, but the crop’s water use efficiency was fantastic.”
The grower sowed Mace and Trojan alongside each other on his paddock, with yields of 2.6 and 3.2 tonnes respectively.
“The first run in that piece was about 600kg difference in yield in favour Trojan.
“The next run across there was 500kg difference. Further out, it was probably more to do with soil type, but the difference went back up to 600kg.
“I was pretty impressed. It actually blew me away. I didn’t believe it was that good.”
The crop was sown at 50kg/ha using a DBS at 30cm spacings.
The base compound was MAP at 40kg/ha and 40kg/ha urea went down the chute underneath the seed.
All of the crop was sprayed for powdery mildew.
Mr Keefe said any non-profit group in town could apply to the trust to get a maximum of $10,000 per year.
“In the past, the Mt Gibson trust has injected funds into the tennis club, bowling club, agricultural society, Mullewa muster and many other groups in the district.”
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Image: Farmer Kim Keefe Mullewa Farm Supplies owner Glenn Bryant and Advanta Seeds territory manager Steve Lamb