Rangelands NRM has been successful in securing an Australian Government’s National Landcare Program Smart Farms small grants round 4 grant for the project:
‘Revitalising the southern rangelands and the pastoral industry though advance and refined grazing management’ – in an announcement made on March 10, 2021.
A station in WA is incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to implement similar grazing methods as used at Old Man Plains Research Station in the Northern Territory. The semi-arid environment of Alice Springs is similar to that of our southern lands, where they have enjoyed an increase in production, meat quality and groundcover over recent years due to the use of refined grazing management techniques .
“To ensure drought resiliency across the WA Southern Rangelands, the adoption of rotational grazing and forage budgeting is essential”, says Debra Tarabini, CEO of Rangelands NRM.
Using the funding granted ($99,220), the project will invest in the new technologies of Ceres Tags (GPS and animal behaviour trackers) and CiboLabs (satellite imagery for forage budgeting) in collaboration with Bruce Maynard and Dean Revells self-herding techniques and time controlled rotational l grazing.
The ultimate outcome from the project will be having different practises utilised and working together such as such as rotational grazing, forage budgeting, nutritional supplementation when needed and consideration of kangaroo numbers on the ground and impact on feed on offer. Bringing these together to refine grazing management in the region – will ensure that pastures can regenerate, stock can graze a balanced nutritional diet, and forage and groundcover is maintained/increased.
Rangelands NRM worked closely with Hillview Station (lessees Darren and Kim Cousens) to get this application through.
“It has been their ambition to use some of the methodologies implemented at Old Man Plains Research Station in their grazing property management in the Southern Rangelands so that there is a local case study and research site, and now we can deliver that”, mentioned Ms Tarabini.
Whilst the majority of work will be carried out on Hillview Station, the Cibolab and self-herding workshops will be open to pastoralists across the Southern Rangelands. The animal behaviour data that Kim and Darren collect from the Ceres tags will also be openly available.
Murdoch University will also be involved, monitoring kangaroo numbers throughout the term of the project, giving industry staff and pastoralists factual evidence of kangaroo numbers and the impact that they are having on the total grazing pressure. It will also assist in determining if there is the potential for a kangaroo meat industry.
Ultimately, this project is a package that can revitalise the Southern Rangelands natural capital resulting in drought resiliency, whilst increasing stock performance and meat quality.
Over the coming months much of the background work will be carried out, with the hopes that the first self-herding workshop can be held in late June/early July.