Primary production or ‘growing grass’ in the rangelands can be complex, so an interdisciplinary approach is required, acknowledging everything is connected. ‘Good practice’ grazing in rangeland systems can help bolster native pastures and improve production, stabilise and enhance land condition, reduce degradation and run-off, offer drought resistance whilst also generating substantial economic returns.
Much of the rangelands of WA, especially in the southern region, has been significantly grazed and have not yet recovered. The degrading process, however, can be halted and turned around through sustainable management. Regenerative pastoralism is about reversing the benign and incremental decline. It requires practice change, and using techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities and animal welfare.
Grazing management is one way of improving pastures. Utilising a range of grazing techniques, and resting paddocks from stock during the growing season/wet season or 3-4 months after burning is recommended. Land managers can also actively adjust current stocking rate to match feed supply (feed budgeting), ensuring paddocks are not over grazed, with stocking rates adjusted to seasonal conditions.
Feed demand from domestic, native and feral herbivores contribute to the total grazing pressure in a system. The pressure from native and feral herbivores is generally much higher than domestic stock, with kangaroos in particular having a considerable impact, and thus a need to be controlled.
Rangelands NRM is supporting the sustainable management process by providing a neutral space to facilitate workshops with interested pastoralists and land managers. We recognise that by utilising the local knowledge of land managers and complementing this with technical expertise and support, great progess can be made. The development of on-ground trials or introduction of alternative approaches to land management in pastoral production and the subsequent sharing of outcomes from this will assist land managers to plan, monitor, assess and reflect on the work. This will encourage a continuous improvement approach where land managers are able to share learnings and adapt their management strategies where appropriate.
We use the following tools to assist land managers:
De Grey LCDC, Factsheet 2 – Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup