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Western Catchment Management Authority : Western landholders star in DVD about sustainable grazing

09/19/2013 | 04:55am US/Eastern
Five landholders from the Western Catchment feature in a DVD about sustainable grazing which was launched in Cobar last night. Approximately fifty people attended the launch of the Looking over the Fence DVD, which features 21 short documentaries about operating grazing businesses in the rangelands of western NSW.

The DVD, produced by the Western Catchment Management Authority (CMA), complements a series of fact sheets based on ten principles to manage a grazing enterprise in the NSW rangelands.

Western CMA Communications Officer, Maree Barnes, says the land managers explain the practical ways they use sustainable grazing management principles on their properties.

"Even though the landholders are operating in different landscapes, with different types of families and staff, they are using common principles and techniques," Ms Barnes said.

"Ultimately they are all working to ensure sustainability on their property as well as running viable grazing businesses," she said.

Mike and Lucy Rosser of Argyle Station near Wanaaring appear in six films speaking about improving groundcover, managing total grazing pressure, controlling pests including goats, managing for drought and adapting to change before change is forced on you.

Dean Schellnegger of Opal Downs near Lightning Ridge features in four films explaining methods for encouraging native grasses, his experience in converting from open bore drains to tanks and troughs, the importance of long-term planning and his work with the Hudson Pear Taskforce.

James Foster of Remington Station near Narran Lakes talks about changing his mind regarding the use of fire on his property and shows the remarkable results of burning to control invasive native scrub seedlings in one of his paddocks.

John Blore of Belmont Station near Broken Hill appears in five films. He explains the innovative infrastructure he uses to remove goats from his property, his principles for surviving drought and the importance of managing pastures. He also showcases a claypan that he rehabilitated from a scalded, eroding area to a 1500 saltbush plantation, which will enable him to rest neighbouring paddocks during dry times.

Paul Whytcross of Kia Ora Station near Cobar appears in five films discussing controlling access to watering points, managing invasive native scrub, managing pests including goats and reducing total grazing pressure to improve biodiversity on his property as well as production.

"The title, Looking over the Fence, recognises that landholders are the best placed to teach and to learn from each other," Ms Barnes said.

"The NSW rangelands is not an easy place to earn a living.   While it's our role to assist in education through field days, training, publications and DVDs, we know that the people on the ground, working hard to look after their family and operating a successful business, have a huge wealth of knowledge to share.

"Interestingly, all landholders featured say it's impossible to drought-proof a property in the Western Division but believe there are steps that can be taken to during better seasons that enable them to survive a dry time.

"This DVD enables other land managers to have a look over the fence at what other graziers in their area are doing and the rationale behind their operation," she said.

Copies of the fact sheets and DVD will be sent to all landholders on the Western CMA mailing list in the next few weeks. Interested people can contact 1800 032 101 to have a copy sent to them.

The ten basic principles to manage a grazing enterprise in the NSW rangelands are:

1. Actively control pest animals and weeds

2. Control access to watering points

3. Maintain and improve groundcover

4. Manage for drought

5. Manage invasive native scrub

6. Manage pasture species

7. Manage total grazing pressure

8. Match stock numbers to feed availability

9. Rest pastures regularly

10. Think long-term and act short-term

"Supporting landholders to improve productivity and sustainability through education and on-ground works will continue under the banner of Local Land Services," Ms Barnes said.

In January 2014 Local Land Services will become operational, delivering functions now provided by Catchment Management Authorities and further incorporating a wealth of technical and advisory knowledge from Livestock Health and Pest Authorities and agricultural advisory services of the Department of Primary Industries.

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