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Beyond the Bale : Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement
Driven by woolgrowers' needs and wishes, the research carried out by Land, Water & Wool has given the Australian wool industry a special advantage: the ability to improve financial returns while enhancing the way it looks after natural resources such as land, water and vegetation -- all under a changing climate. The AWI investment of $20 million in Land, Water & Wool is expected to generate economic benefits of $87.3 million -- half from productivity gains and half from environmental improvements. For example, there are important gains to be made at the on-farm level, including potentially lifting profits by at least 10 per cent -- sometimes considerably more -- by establishing saltland pastures and strategically including them in the whole-farm rotation. Other economic benefits for woolgrowers have been identified: ú research in South Australia and Victoria found that the strategic management of pastures that include native grasses (for example, planned or rotational grazing according to plant growth rates) could increase stocking rate from 2.3 to 4.2DSE per hectare while promoting native perennial grasses. These findings are applicable to more than two million hectares in the two states. ú planning gully rehabilitation in a whole- property context can provide opportunities to increase productivity and the ease of farm SUSTAINABLE PROFIT: ON-THE-MONEY SOLUTIONS Good natural resource management can lead directly to greater financial returns -- a unique win-win situation for woolgrowers management, through fencing (for example, to permit rotational grazing or to align with land- class boundaries) or establishing new dams. ú seasonal climate-risk assessments can be coupled with historical rainfall and pasture data to predict pasture growth in many regions at particular times of the year. This is more useful to farm planning than merely predicting rainfall: it can be factored into decisions about stocking rates, optimising joining and lambing and so on. ú rehabilitation of riparian land can repay the initial infrastructure outlay through improved pasture growth, better feed utilisation, disease control and shelter for lambs and sheep off-shears. ú woolgrowers on properties with dryland salinity now have more options to address salinity, including simple first steps such as rotationally grazing volunteer pasture and looking at the low- cost option of fencing-off, through to saltland pasture establishment on a large scale. ú research in the Traprock country of ueensland confirmed that thick regrowth in grassy box woodlands of south-east ueensland was of lower biodiversity and production value than more open woodland areas. In more open woodland country, there was a positive relationship between the amount of tree and understorey cover and the diversity of native animals. ú More information: See back page for Land,Water & Wool publications, and see www.landwaterwool.gov.au for more resources. NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Program provides credible resource Promoting Tasmanian wool's environmental, sustainable and natural qualities has been an important marketing strategy for Tasmanian woolbroker Roberts Ltd. Roberts marketing manager Eric Hutchinson says Tasmanian wool is rare, under-marketed and meets the quality demands of its discerning customers. However, the ability to back up environmental and sustainability claims with independent, reliable information has also proved vital, and is where work by Land,Water & Wool has been important. Mr Hutchinson says Roberts saw the program and its researchers as a knowledgeable and credible resource. "They were able to provide substance to the claims we were making about Tasmanian wool, which we found very valuable." Roberts' marketing strategy has drawn a lot on the natural attributes of Tasmania, which has helped to meet customer demands such as those of the North American activewear market. Mr Hutchinson says this market is a wealthy demographic and Tasmanian wool fits well with it. "This segment includes people who play in the outdoors and like natural products.Wool is a nice match because it fits with their environmental and sustainable ethos." Land,Water & Wool has also helped increase customer knowledge of Tasmanian wool's attributes, he says. "Using material from the project we were able to help show potential and existing customers exactly what it meant to source wool from Tasmania. And from our point of view, as marketers, there's value in that. "It's always better to have independent, credible experts available to back up any environmental and sustainability claims we make.That's very important and we found real value in that." -- REBECCA THYER -20,000 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 123456789101112131415161718192021 Year Net farm income ($) Net farm income without contour shelter Net farm income with contour shelter Over 20 years: Net present value of shelter benefit = $113/ha Rate of return = 95% Drought year Drought year Whole farm returns from contour shelter belts LAND,WATER & WOOL SUPPLEMENT BEYOND THE BALE 5 For the first time, woolgrowers can, collectively or individually, monitor their farm's environmental performance (for example, pasture and habitat condition) and compare their property against regional benchmarks. Over time, the website and its monitoring results will actively demonstrate the adoption of sustainable and environmentally friendly practices by woolgrowers. The biodiversity toolkit, which can also be adapted to regions outside of the Traprock, is accessible via the www.traprockwool.com website. Contour shelter-belts can increase net farm income (Northern Tablelands, NSW)
Aug 07 - Sep 07
Jun 07 - Jul 07