Im­pact of ex­clu­sion fence

Trends in pro­duc­tion and per­for­mance

The Western Star - - RURALWEEKL­Y -

AUS­TRALIAN Wool In­no­va­tion, in part­ner­ship with Soils For Life, has es­tab­lished a long-term project to col­lect ev­i­dence on trends in pro­duc­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance on wool-grow­ing prop­er­ties within preda­tor/ ex­clu­sion fenced ar­eas of cen­tral Queens­land and north-eastern New South Wales.

The wool in­dus­try is fre­quently called upon to pro­vide ev­i­dence that wool-grow­ing is con­tribut­ing to en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits such as healthy soils, bio­di­ver­sity and the re­cov­ery of threat­ened na­tive species.

Preda­tor/ex­clu­sion fenc­ing is in­creas­ingly be­ing used in the wool in­dus­try to man­age feral an­i­mals and im­prove con­trol of to­tal graz­ing pres­sure.

How­ever to date, no project has in­ves­ti­gated the pro­duc­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects of be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter erect­ing a preda­tor/ ex­clu­sion fence.

“Un­for­tu­nately, most sci­en­tific stud­ies of pri­mary pro­duc­tion have used the ar­rival of Euro­peans in Aus­tralia as the base­line against which to com­pare to­day’s land­scape health. How­ever, the in­tro­duc­tion of clus­ter fenc­ing pro­vides a much more cur­rent base­line for as­sess­ing the ef­fects of con­tem­po­rary wool pro­duc­tion,” said An­gus Ire­land, AWI pro­gram man­ager, fi­bre ad­vo­cacy and eco cre­den­tials.

The ob­ject of this five-year project is to show­case the im­prove­ments that arise from wool pro­duc­ers hav­ing in­creased con­trol of their op­er­a­tions in terms of prof­itabil­ity, ecol­ogy, pro­duc­tion and so­cial and com­mu­nity well-be­ing.

Change will be re­ported over time rel­a­tive to a base­line state: ie be­fore the es­tab­lish­ment of a preda­tor/ ex­clu­sion fence, dur­ing con­struc­tion of the fence, and af­ter the fence is closed.

“Pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the SFL sci­en­tific team have re­vealed re­mark­able changes in pas­ture growth, lamb­ing per­cent­ages, in­creases in bio­di­ver­sity and pro­ducer con­fi­dence on the six prop­er­ties vis­ited to date,” said Soils For Life chief of staff, Natalie Wil­liams.

Pro­duc­ers and prop­er­ties in Queens­land have been se­lected along a north-south axis lo­cated be­tween Lon­greach in the north and Mor­ven in the south. The project spans around 550km. Prop­er­ties are lo­cated in sev­eral widely recog­nised bio-re­gions in­clud­ing Mitchell Grass Downs, while the cen­tral and south­ern reaches in­clude the Briga­low Belt South and Mulga Lands.

These pro­duc­ers and their prop­er­ties have been se­lected be­cause they al­ready em­ploy ‘best-prac­tice’ re­gen­er­a­tive land­scape man­age­ment. Each pro­ducer will as­sist Soils For Life with the col­lec­tion of ev­i­dence over time of:

■ Pro­duc­tion, fi­nan­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance in­for­ma­tion, ver­i­fied by a com­bi­na­tion of quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive ob­ser­va­tions

■ Wild dog, pig and fox con­trol as well as con­trol of to­tal graz­ing pres­sure

■ Pas­ture rest­ing / re­gen­er­a­tive graz­ing, once they have es­tab­lished the preda­tor/ex­clu­sion fence ■ Prop­erty records, his­tor­i­cal events such as drought and ob­ser­va­tions of wildlife.

Land­hold­ers want­ing to be­come in­volved can par­tic­i­pate through the men­tor­ing pro­gram and field days.

For more in­for­ma­tion go to: www.soils­for­life.org.au.

PHOTO: FILE

A project has been es­tab­lished to col­lect ev­i­dence on trends in pro­duc­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance on wool-grow­ing prop­er­ties within ex­clu­sion fenced ar­eas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.