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Projects

21 Mar 2021

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GRASS - Grazing Resilience and Sustainable Solutions Program

Project summary

This project will offer on ground support for ten Cape York graziers to improve land management (particularly C and D land condition) through Action Plans for Land Management and one-on-one extension that will lead to practice change and long-term improvement of managed land, before the end of June 2021. The aim is to secure future funding for improvements identified in the action plans.

  • Background

    Funded through the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program, GRASS has been designed to continue to provide extension support and incentives for practice change to graziers in the catchments previously serviced by the Grazing BMP—Burdekin, Fitzroy, and Burnett Mary.

    Cape York is identified as a priority in the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Investment Plan (WQIP) 2017-2022 to maintain current levels of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and reduce fine sediment and particulate loads by 5%.

    In February 2021, the department carried out consultation and engagement activities in the Cape York region as part of the introduction of new Great Barrier Reef protection regulations. While regulations are currently not applied to Cape York, stakeholder feedback indicates there is little government support in the region to maintain and achieve the Cape York water quality protection targets of the Reef 2050 WQIP 2017-2022.

    Cape York NRM has existing capabilities to trial the GRASS program to support these objectives, particularly through the development of grazing extension and action plans for land management (APLM) to 10 landholders in the Normanby catchment from March-June 2021. Cape York NRM has identified this would position the region to access funds for on ground implementation through Reef and other investment programs.  

  • Project activities

    The GRASS program will support graziers in priority regions with land in C and D condition to develop a tailor-made action plan for land management.

    On ground extension officers will visit and benchmark the graziers to ensure advice provides long-term solutions for the grazier and Reef water quality outcomes. This includes the development of their action plan for land management. The short project has an initial target of 10 grazing businesses (by end of June 2021) receiving an Action Plan for Land Managements and will utilise this support to underpin future project investments in this region.

    The tailored action plan for land managements will seek to improve ground cover, sediment run-off, and land condition from grazing properties.

    As part of the process, graziers will be provided with a paddock map/s identifying waters, land types, grazing radius, and current infrastructure. This includes FORAGE reports land condition assessment (cover imagery and ground truthing).

    The action plan for land management will be developed for C and D condition land through one-on-one technical advice. This advice will focus on adopting measures that will improve land condition, helping to result in sufficient residual pasture by the end of the dry season as well as preventing areas of degraded land from further degradation or expansion. Examples of measures that may be used include:

    • Adjusting grazing pressure—adjust stocking rate to match land condition:
      • stocking to long-term carrying capacity determining short-term carrying capacity using forage budgets.
    • A planned program of wet season spelling of land to improve land condition.
    • Managing preferential grazing, through actions such as:
      • additional fencing
      • establishing additional/relocating watering points
      • strategic placement of licks.
    • Managing land around gullies and early signs of gullying.
    • Managing linear infrastructure to minimise erosion.
    • Establishing diversion banks.
    • Sowing pastures.
    • Controlling weeds.
    • Managing grazing pressure in the gully catchment area and within the gully area.
    • Any other measure that improves land condition or prevents areas of degraded land condition from further degrading or expanding.

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