Building climate smart farming systems through integrated water storage and crop-livestock interventions
Rainfall variability is a critical issue for WA farmers as water is a key limiting resource for crop and livestock production. Current interventions to harvest and store water for crop and livestock need to be evaluated and adapted to respond to CC while minimizing contributions to GHG emissions. This project focuses on water retention techniques for crop production (e.g. Zaï, contour ridges) and small-to-medium-scale water storage infrastructure (dugouts, small reservoirs) for multipurpose use, combined with technologies focusing on optimizing crop-livestock production (trees and legumes, fodder production, crop residue management). These will increase resilience of farming systems by: 1) improving water availability for crops, livestock and humans throughout the year; 2) stabilize cash flow from crops and livestock over time; and 3) establish a reliable value chain for crops and livestock. Using on-farm and modeling approaches, the “climate smartness” of alternative IWSLIs will be tested, and adoption and trade-offs (e.g. fodder versus crop production) will be evaluated. A value chain analysis identifies constraints to market access and opportunities to add value to the commodities. The research will explore socioeconomic, cultural and institutional catalysts and barriers (with an emphasis on gender) that may help or hinder uptake and sustainability, through participatory approaches.