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Keyline Demonstration

Keyline Demonstration

Boyup Brook, Western Australia

  • Author: SWCC
  • Date Posted: Aug 27, 2014
  • Category:
  • Address: Boyup Brook, Western Australia

Project Details

Project Delivery: Individual Landholder

Contact: Peter Clifton (SWCC-Bunbury). Ph 9824 2469. Email:

Website: SWCC Sustainable Agriculture

Start Date:  June 2014                     End Date: Dec 2017

Site ID:  SF16

Size Are Ha: 40


Project Aim

The projects aim is to demonstrate the effectiveness of Keyline farming principles, Keyline ploughing, perennial pastures, bioavailable fertilisers and fodder tree planting in the regeneration of farming land. It is hoped that the demonstration will:

  • Increase water infiltration, retention and distribution though out the landscape,
  • Increase plant productivity and biodiversity,
  •  Increase length of growing season for annual and perennial pastures.
  • Increase root depth and volume
  •  Improve soil structure, bulk density and organic matter (increase pH buffering capacity).
  •  Balance available nutrients
  • Increase in the biologically active zone around the roots of plants
  • Reduce soil erosion (wind and water) and stabilize the landscape.
  • Hard pan reduction (through mechanical disturbance, balancing minerals and introducing biology) and reduce nutrient loss over the landscape.


The project involves a 40 hectare site with two major valleys within it. Both the valleys suffer from water erosion which has escalated in the last 10 years, partly due to seasonal conditions including drought and significant rainfall events. It is becoming evident that water management for both stock and erosion purposes is paramount to continue farming sustainably and economically.
The area will be contour mapped and from that will be keyline ploughed to manage water runoff, then application of bioavailable fertilisers and fodder tree planting will take place. The yeoman’s ploughing will have a control, one pass of ripping and another treatment of 2 years of yeoman plough ripping. Bioavailable fertilisers will be applied over 3 years consecutively probably 2015, 2016, 2017with a control strip of 1 Ha will be left as denoted on the map, where no fertiliser will be applied.
By using measurements of commercial standard soil test, infiltrometer, moisture meter, penetometer, done as a benchmark and the end of the trial will allow comparison of soil structure, microbe activity and health. Soil assessments conducted by the farmer at 10cm, 20cm, and 30cm and pit profiles will measure soil structure, bulk density, organic matter, pH, rooting depth and volume will be done as a base line and at the conclusion of the project. Quarterly visual and photo assessments along with GPS points will observe the of slope/soil erosion reduction in the gullies, success of the fodder tree establishment, the changes in groundcover, plant species diversity and soil fauna.


Field day – 25 May 2015: Keyline field day_Forage shrub summary


Trial update November 2016


An archive of keyline references including 11 videos from between 1950 – 1990


*Join the growing number of farmers and industry advisers receiving trial updates by subscribing to SWCC’s Sustainable Agriculture E-newsletter.  Simply email with “Subscribe to SWAG” as the subject.



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