Rangelands NRM have secured over $1.7M in funding from Landcare Innovation Grants for two projects to give land managers in the rangelands of WA more tools to implement sustainable practices, reduce farm costs and build productivity.
Operations Manager John Silver said the projects were about developing ways to reduce input costs and generate better returns for the landholder while making sure our natural resources are here to support future generations.
In the Kimberley, $818,290 has been awarded to demonstrate how cattle respond to EcoFire management and utilise burnt and unburnt areas.
Mr Silver said in the Kimberley, fire is used by pastoralists, conservationists and Indigenous people to manage the landscape.
“Approximately 20 million hectares of Kimberley savannah woodland are bunt through destructive, hot-season wildfires with significant impacts on biodiversity and livestock production,” Mr Silver said. Satellite images of fire scars will be overlayed with GPS collared cattle to monitor the landscape.
“This project will help to develop more sustainable grazing practices which maximise productivity and minimise environmental degradation after fire. It’s about the timing of fire and having better control over animals in relation to how they graze, travel and congregate,” he said.
In a second rangeland-wide project, $925,320 has been awarded to manage feed supply and groundcover in rangelands through nutritional shepherding.
"The project will provide and test new low-cost techniques for the management of grazing pressure in the rangelands and apply nutritional shepherding to manage movement and grazing behaviour within large paddocks,” Mr Silver said.
This project will manage animal movement and grazing behaviour by introducing stock to new and diverse feed sources, reduce stress and demonstrate financial benefits can be derived by adjusting stocking rates to feed budgets and managing total grazing pressure.
“We hope to increase the number of landholders with groundcover strategies,” he said. “Large changes will be possible by influencing a relatively small number of land managers.”
Minister for Agriculture the Hon Barnaby Joyce had approved funding for 31 new projects across Australia as part of the Australian Government’s $21.2 million dollar Landcare Innovation Grants. Grants ranging between $250,000 and $1.5 million were available to help drive the development and adoption of innovative practices across agriculture, fishing, aquaculture and farm forestry.
For more information, contact John Silver.