A two-year project to make South East Queensland farms and communities more resilient to drought has been announced by peak environmental group Healthy Land & Water.
Funded under the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, the Drought Resilient Soils and Landscapes project will bring together graziers and farmers, local Landcare groups and industry partners to promote and accelerate increased adoption of sustainable land management practices across the region.
Julie McLellan, CEO of peak environment group in South East Queensland, Healthy Land & Water, said this project is important because of the need to develop effective long-term responses to drought.
“Although we’ve had good rain over the summer and winter, drought is never far away in Australia, so we have to be prepared,” Ms McLellan said.
“This project will support trials and on-ground projects which demonstrate land management practices which build organic matter and improve soil health and stability, maintain good land condition and enhance riparian areas and native vegetation.
To help make the land more drought resilient, activities which increase organic matter, maximise water infiltration in soils, improve effective groundcover, pasture condition and diversity, and enhance native vegetation will be promoted. Improving the condition of natural assets – soils, land and native vegetation is not only critical for underpinning the sustainability and profitability of grazing and farming businesses and rural communities, but helps provide a range of ecosystem services & benefits to the wider community,” Ms McLellan said.
“We will be actively promoting sustainable grazing and land management practices through a series of workshops and field days at selected trial sites to encourage wider application right across the landscape. Landholders will be able to share learnings about strategies and practices which help build resilience of their natural assets and better manage for increasing climate variability as well as learn more about natural capital and sustainability programs.”
Ms McLellan says that this funding for drought resilience is vital in as it goes a long way towards giving more landholder the ability to adapt, reorganise or transform grazing and farming practices in response to more variable rainfall and changing temperatures. Land management plans and practices which improve resilience lead to better economic, environmental, and social outcomes.
“Graziers and landholders will be supported through workshops and information sharing on the latest tools and technologies to incorporate learnings and practices into existing Property Management Plans or develop new farm business resilience plans.
“The project also strengthens networks between farmers and land managers across the region as they share experiences and integrate innovative land management practices into their systems.
“Activities including grazing management to improve rotation, rest and recovery of pastures, improving effective groundcover and maximizing water infiltration and retention, trialing new legumes and multi-species cover crops to build soil organic matter and restoring riparian areas provides multiple benefits for soils at paddock and property level as well as across the broader landscape.
“Through this project, we expect to promote and share landholder learnings and experiences through our field days, workshops, and a regional forum in June 2024 with a series of case studies and fact sheets developed from trials and demonstration sites providing an enduring resource for other landholders,” Ms McLellan said.