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Beyond the Bale : Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement
Woolgrowers are the custodians of a large proportion of Australia's natural resources. Australia's 37,000 wool producers manage 85 million hectares of land -- about 12 per cent of the continent. The industry plays a huge role in managing water quality, soil erosion and habitat protection for the benefit of the community. Improved natural resource management can lower water tables, improve water quality, promote biodiversity and improve the appearance of the landscape. A Land, Water & Wool survey showed that 90 per cent of woolgrowers regard natural resource management as important. It showed that dryland salinity affected 40 per cent of all woolgrower properties, 78 per cent had waterways (rivers or creeks) on their properties and 77 per cent had areas of native vegetation. The sur vey showed that: ú 70 per cent of those affected by salinity had introduced practices to improve the land; ú 55 per cent of those with waterways had adopted practices to improve water quality; and ú 55 per cent of those with native vegetation were using improved management practices. There are many environmentally focused activities that woolgrowers undertake on-farm for the benefit of the wider community. For example, woolgrowers fencing out riparian land or isolating and managing a salt scald are often driven more by duty of care than by short-term profit, but provide great benefits to the wider community in the longer term. ú More information: See back page for Land,Water & Wool publications, and see www.landwaterwool.gov.au for more resources. WOOLGROWERS AS ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDS Wool producers manage about 12 per cent of the continent and play a big par t in keeping it healthy for the benefit of the community "Woolgrowers with hill country can improve profits by 10 per cent and avoid bare hills, erosion and weed problems in winter." -- JIM MOLL, researcher, Native Vegetation and Biodiversity sub-program Pasture planning makes production profitable Adopting planned grazing has regenerated native grass pastures and substantially boosted stocking rates for South Australian woolgrower Chris Heinjus. Chris owns a 1420-hectare farm in SA's mid- north, with an average rainfall of 400 millimetres, and runs a self-replacing Merino flock of 2400 ewes. Since making the change, Chris has seen an improvement in the land's condition, stocking rates have increased from an average of one to 1.5DSE per hectare to three to 4DSE/ha and the average lambing percentage has increased from 78 to 100 per cent after changing his farm's yearly production calendar. Environmental 'health check' for woolgrowers Woolgrowers from the Traprock Wool Association (TWA) in south-east Queensland and Land,Water & Wool researchers have developed an online 'health check' for their natural resources. The TWA participated in the project 'Integrating paddock and catchment planning: a wool producer-driven approach to sustainable landscape management', which led to the development of the internet-based environmental-management toolkit. NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PHOTO: KYLIE NICHOLLS 4 BEYOND THE BALE LAND,WATER & WOOL SUPPLEMENT Chris Heinjus Australian production zones n Pastoral Zone n Wheat--Sheep Zone n High Rainfall Zone Researchers and woolgrowers: partners in climate risk Melissa Rebbeck, a climate researcher from South Australia, and her team looked at the value to pastoralists of using the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) in their management decisions. She says that from a research perspective, ongoing contact with woolgrowers was essential. "Hearing from woolgrowers that they would consider changing the timing of important decisions to fit with climate forecasts was extremely rewarding," she says. "The interaction with the other researchers from across Australia has also been excellent for each of us, resulting in improved research and delivery to woolgrowers." Melissa Rebbeck Fast-tracking catchment management goals Land,Water & Wool identified many opportunities for woolgrowers and regional Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) to work together in a mutually beneficial way. It has given such bodies direct experience of the wool industry's particular needs and the benefits it can offer for improved landscape management on a vast scale. In Victoria, the Goulburn-Broken and North Central CMAs, with help from Australian Government funding, are incorporating Land,Water & Wool vegetation and biodiversity research findings into 'Green Graze', a new project for graziers. Land,Water & Wool has also enhanced the scientific rigour and economic analysis for aligning natural resource management goals at both the farm and catchment level. For example, by using economic models based on data from 14 wool properties, it was found that up to 15 per cent of the land area of hill-country farms in Victoria could be revegetated for environmental benefits without great effect on farm profitability. This is useful information to bring to the debate on the proportion of the landscape that needs to be revegetated for environmental reasons; some CMAs have 30 per cent of their area as a target for revegetation, which Land,Water & Wool research suggests is unlikely to be economic. Land,Water & Wool has also targeted results, tools and guidelines to regional natural resource management bodies, state agencies and producer organisations.
Aug 07 - Sep 07
Jun 07 - Jul 07