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Prevention of rangeland degradation during drought through zero grazing techniques

Knights, G.I. Mr; Ph: (07) 4625 3188; Mobile: 0417 790 511; (07) 4625 3892;

Research organisation: Sheep Division, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, PO Box 310, St George Qld 4487

Sponsor: NLP: National Landcare Program

Objective: Encourage industry to adopt drought management strategies that protect the stability of grazing land resources. Protect the soil from erosion and reduce the breakdown of the surface structure. Increase the infiltration of water into the soil thereby making small falls of rain during drought more effective for pasture recovery. Reduce the concentration of native animals during drought by increasing the amount and distribution of available pasture. Protect the native fauna and flora through the use of more sustainable grazing techniques. Develop practical methods of destocking drought-affected rangelands into on-farm droughtlots acceptable capital costs, economic returns and mortality rates.

Methodology: Establish exclosures that will allow pastures to grow unimpeded by grazing by domestic and feral animals. Establish feedlots that will house the sheep that have been removed from the paddocks for spelling. Demonstrate through field days, farm walks and publications to producers and politicians the possible management options during drought. These extension activities will include the latest extension methods due to the ongoing training of the project leader at the Rural Extension Centre, Gatton, including adult education practices, client consultation (local Landcare Group) and group activities. Evaluation is also a key part of this project and the project team has formally evaluated the first field day with a mail out survey to the producers that attended.

Progress: Field days held to demonstrate value of droughtlots. Previous practice of subsidising the feeding of supplements on mulga country was degrading the land. Report to QDPI with feedback from farmers at field days highlighted that they would view drought feedlotting more favourably if its use was subsidised by government.

Period: starting date 1993-10; completion date 1997-01

Status: completed

Keywords: droughtlots, feedlots, destocking, drought mitigation, supplementary feeding

Publications: Report to QDPI.


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