Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Mallee trees grow in importance to Western Australian farmers

    8/03/2008 12:00 AM
     

    Agriculture and Food and Forestry Minister Kim Chance today said that mallee trees were proving to be a valuable option for farmers devastated by drought and could even save some farmers from being forced off their land.

     

    Mr Chance toured the Wheatbelt towns of Mullewa and Kalannie to inspect how mallees were being used to improve farm sustainability and to benefit farming communities in many other ways.

     

    “The north eastern Wheatbelt has endured years of drought, yet Mike Kerkman’s farm east of Mullewa is greener than those around him because of how he has structured his farming practices and used mallee trees to their full advantage,” he said.

     

    Mr Kerkman, who is the president of the Oil Mallee Association of WA, said the trees had the capacity to improve adjacent cropping zones through their appetite for water, to reduce wind-blown erosion and to encourage farmers to stay on the land.

     

    The Minister said the impact of climate change made it imperative that marginal farming areas considered moving to different practices and this could be linked to exceptional circumstances funding to encourage sustainable farming methods.

     

    “Alley farming involving rows of trees and crops, for instance, is something that could be promoted more,” he said.

     

    “As well as improving the biodiversity of a farm, the various parts of mallee trees could be used for oils, carbon sequestration and even power generation.

     

    “Wood-fired power generators could be used in some regional areas where there isn’t enough electricity, meaning some regional communities could grow mallee trees and produce their own power.”

     

    Mr Chance said the Western Australian Government and the Oil Mallee Association were leading a push to develop an industry plan with the Federal Government to look at what mallee uses were viable.

     

    Perth would host the first national mallee conference at the Vines Resort on March 14 and this had attracted more than 100 people from all over Australia.

     

    Minister's Office- 9213 6700