Healthy Country   Sustainable Land Management: Project updates

Sustainable Land Management: Project upates

The Healthy Country 'Primary Industries and Fisheries' team, at the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), have been busy implementing a suite of projects and resources aimed at improving management practices on grazing, horticulture and cropping properties in the Lockyer, Bremer and Logan catchments.These projects include:

Horticulture and cropping in the Lockyer and Bremer

Benchmarking Best Management Practice adoption: Benchmarking has been conducted with approximately 55% of growers in the Bremer and Lockyer catchments. Management practices within these regions are predominantly C (conventional) practices with increasing numbers of B (best) practices. In total, 35.7% of benchmarked producers have implemented changes to their farming systems to improve soil and nutrient management. The majority of these practice changes have direct implications for reducing the potential movement of soil and nutrients off-farm.
Download the report.

Monitoring sediment loss from horticulture: The establishment of a demonstration site has highlighted to producers the amount of sediment that can be lost from bare fallowed horticultural fields during summer rainfall events. Capturing run off from a paired paddock that had a legume established has highlighted the effectiveness of cover in significantly reducing these losses.

Download the report and factsheet

Controlled traffic farming: Promotion of the benefits identified by existing grower co-operators has seen increasing interest in the work being undertaken in controlled traffic farming.  A number of the larger horticultural producers and processing companies within the Lockyer and Bremer catchments are now expressing interest in the work being collaboratively undertaken with our subcontractor CTF Solutions. The project’s agricultural economist has worked closely with grower co-operators to identify the cost benefits of changing to a controlled traffic farming system. The analysis is showing the potential for significant savings in machinery cost and diesel and a decision support tool has shown significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Four field days have been held to highlight a range of soil and nutrient management practices that minimise the potential loss of sediment and nutrients from horticultural fields.

Download the factsheet.

Grazing in South East Queensland

Benchmarking Best Management Practice and Land Condition: Over 100 graziers have had their properties benchmarked on a scale of 1 (innovative/cutting edge) to 4 (high risk). The percentage of graziers rated 1 or 2 has increased from 37% to 69%. Over one third of all graziers engaged in the project improved their management. The vast majority (87%) of grazing land assessed was in good condition.

Download the report.

Landholder incentives: In late 2009, 19 graziers received incentives to implement improved management practices or rehabilitate eroding areas. These projects include gully rehabilitation, fencing for rotational grazing and riparian fencing. A number of graziers are seeing significant improvements in land condition and pasture growth as a result of the projects. A project to control the highly invasive Giant Rats Tail grass on properties in Knapp Creek catchment near Beaudesert has also been undertaken.

Regional cost benefit analysis:
The first of its kind in Queensland. A variety of economic decision support tools have been utilised in the development of a cost benefit analysis of the ongoing implementation of the FarmFLOW Framework in high risk catchments. The DEEDI team have compiled data on industry size, average farm size and fine tuned adoption profiles based on the current knowledge level of practice adoption rates (from Benchmark reports). This has been linked to sediment and nutrient savings estimates from demonstration projects conducted by the project and from literature on grazing systems.

The Cost Benefit Analysis shows that a substantial increased investment in FarmFLOW, to reduce sediment that is a major threat to Moreton Bay, can achieve significant on-farm economic benefits (net present value of $124 million). It is predicted that another eight years of intensive engagement and incentives is required to achieve adoption of BMP by 80% of primary producers in target catchments. This will result in a cost benefit ratio of 15.04 based on industry benefits alone. A conservative estimate of downstream societal benefits suggests an additional $73 million is added to the net present value for the program. Similarly, tripling the response to the risk of coastal algal blooms in SEQ has a net present social and industry benefit of at least $7.3 million at a cost-benefit ratio of 2.78.

View all DEEDI project resources or for further information, please contact Ian Layden.