Long-term trials of drought resilient farming practices

Long-term trials of drought resilience farming practices

Project Funder: Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry – Future Drought Fund

Project Lead Organisation/Researcher: Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, Charles Sturt University

Project Durations: 2023-2028

Project Location: CWFS Fettell Centre



The focus of the program is to trial farming practices to test and demonstrate a range of strategies for mixed farming systems in Southern NSW. Among the big decisions growers face in the low rainfall zone of the Central West NSW is their ability to manage lucerne pastures through and beyond periods of drought. These decisions are central to effective livestock management and an important part in the management of on-going farming systems (rotation) and the effective use of soil moisture.



CWFS trials will be undertaken at CWFS Fettell Centre at Condobolin where a benchmark can be ensured using supplementary irrigation if required.  Within a replicated trial a range of varietal and management options will be compared side by side and provide visual comparison as well as measured data based on soil moisture, biomass yield and management requirements. Trial activities will commence in 2024.

An initial demonstration of lucerne pasture varieties allowing different management options to be compared side by side will provide both effective extension of the variations in management as well as a base for more in-depth investigation of lucerne pasture management.  CWFS will work with local growers in formulating and planning activities for the project.  Growers will be encouraged to replicate these treatments in their own farming systems for both comparative analysis and extension of practice. 

CWFS will provide extensive monitoring of trials including soil moisture monitoring, soil tests, biomass measurements and comparative analysis to define best management practice in and beyond drought situations.

Reports & Media Releases


The project is led by Charles Sturt University researchers and involves staff and farmer members from 6 southern NSW farming systems groups – Irrigation Farmers Network, FarmLink, Southern Growers, Central West Farming Systems, Riverine Plains and Holbrook Landcare Network.