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Beyond the Bale : Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement
8 BEYOND THE BALE LAND,WATER & WOOL SUPPLEMENT Integrating the natural environment with the business of woolgrowing is paying off for graziers as well as meeting community expectations. Woolgrowers and researchers have worked together in Land, Water & Wool's Native Vegetation and Biodiversity sub-program to develop practical, cost-effective tools to make native vegetation and biodiversity management part of overall farm planning. Through a series of regional research and development projects, native pastures and bushland have been shown to provide a range of benefits. Research has found that shelter-belts of native vegetation on the New England Tablelands of NSW boosted lambing percentages and profits by $11 a hectare. Two properties that planted 11 per cent and 18 per cent of their farm area to blocks and belts of trees saw no reduction in carrying capacity or wool production. In Victorian hill country, deferred grazing over the summer months could see carrying capacity increase by 50 per cent and farm profits increase by 30 per cent. If increased supplementary feeding is not required, it also can generate a healthy 25 per cent return on investment. This was one of four management options Biodiversity boosts the bottom line Benefits from good biodiversity on farms include higher lambing percentages and stocking rates, but the psychological benefits should not be overlooked explored in this region with a view to enhancing biodiversity within profitable farm businesses. On trial sites in the mid-north of South Australia, rotational grazing of perennial native grasses, based on the amount of feed available and its growth stage, has expanded the cover of perennial grasses and of vegetation overall. This resulted in a substantial increase in stocking rate, from 1.25 to 3.5 DSE/ha at one site, and from 2.3 to 4.2 DSE/ha at a second. Coupled with a shift in lambing dates, the increased grass production boosted lambing percentages at one site from 78 to 100 per cent. While profits are important, maintaining biodiversity has other positive effects. Surveys have shown that many woolgrowing properties provide important habitat for native plants and animals, especially when woody vegetation is present. Birds, bats and other species can provide important ecosystem ser vices such as pest control, as well as making properties more enjoyable places to live. "The psychological benefit of a biodiverse farm is important," says NSW woolgrower Rob Adams of 'Swallowfield', Armidale. "It's good to be able to look at the flowers or trees for a while when things aren't going right." The importance of 'sense of place' to woolgrowers was captured in a unique study in south-east ueensland using a technique called 'Photo Voice'. This study of woolgrowers' connection to their landscapes showed that sustainable land management is an important aspect of sustaining the quality of woolgrowers' everyday lives as well as the biodiversity underpinning their economic future. As a result of these regional projects, Land, Water & Wool has produced a range of websites, guidelines and manuals that provide a range of options for managing native vegetation as an integral part of commercial woolgrowing businesses. The innovative online NATIVE VEGETATION AND BIODIVERSITY Diamond firetail. PHOTO: HELEN FALLOW Sheep and their shelter-belt on the Galls' 'Wilson's Creek' property, NSW. PHOTO: NICK REID
Aug 07 - Sep 07
Jun 07 - Jul 07