Approaches

Development and promotion of Ecograze [Australia]

approaches_2333 - Australia

Completeness: 92%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

land user:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Book project: where the land is greener - Case Studies and Analysis of Soil and Water Conservation Initiatives Worldwide (where the land is greener)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
CSIRO (CSIRO) - Australia

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:

Ja

1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

Ecograze
technologies

Ecograze [Australia]

An ecologically sound and practical grazing management system, based on rotation and wet season resting.

  • Compiler: Andrew Ash

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

Research-based development and promotion of Ecograze principles and practices through on-farm testing and demonstration.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: In 1992, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), a producer-owned company that provides services to the entire Australian red meat industry, initiated the Ecograze project. Ecograze was intended to provide innovative management options for the pastures in the eucalyptus woodlands of north-east Queensland. It was an eight-year collaborative research project undertaken by staff of the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Sustainable Ecosystems and Queensland Department of Primary Industries with input from Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines. It formally concluded in 2001. However, many of the analyses and extension activities have been ongoing since then.

Methods: Ecograze was conducted on five commercial grazing properties that spanned different conditions and consequently allowed extrapolation of results to a much wider area across northern Australia. Practical grazing management strategies have been developed. The Ecograze team assessed the economic implications of managing land in various states by linking a pasture production model, to a model of farm economics. Research teams are currently testing the grazing management technology in commercial situations to understand the real costs and implications of implementing the research-derived Ecograze recommendations. The on-farm tests are supported by a number of new initiatives. These include a MLA funded project to specifically implement the Ecograze principles on farms as a means of reducing sediment and nutrients pollution of waterbodies. The National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, through incentives, supports land management practices to reduce erosion, increase ground cover and minimise runoff. Funding is also provided by the Natural Heritage Trust to fence and sub-divide paddocks. All of these initiatives are supported by State Government agencies, who have extension staff based in the regions to assist farmers with implementing new practices. In the case of Ecograze, there are extension officers in the NE Queensland region who are actively promoting its management principles and are assisting producers in planning new strategies. Many of the Ecograze principles are also included in a new Grazing Land Management (GLM) Education package, developed by MLA and research and development agencies. The GLM package, which is delivered via a three-day workshop, is being extended to producers across northern Australia.

This approach highlights the importance of active collaboration between researchers, farmers, the beef industry and the government - in this case to develop a system to improve the condition of grazing lands. Through the central involvement of research, management options have been identified to suit different land users' needs, climates, grazing pressures and pasture conditions

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied

Country:

Australia

Region/ State/ Province:

Northern Australia

Further specification of location:

Queensland

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:

1992

Year of termination (if Approach is no longer applied):

2001

2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused on SLM only

Development and promotion of Ecograze principles leading to adoption and thereby enhancing pasture productivity, soil condition and improved livelihoods for pastoralists.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: (1) Poor rangeland management leading to loss of productive palatable perennial grasses (3 P grasses) resulting in reduced ground cover, soil erosion, profit loss and in some cases irreversible land degradation. (2) Lack of understanding of underlying problems regarding mismatch of animal numbers to forage supply (pressure on grazing land) in a highly variable climate. (3) No clear technical recommendations regarding resting and rotation of rangeland

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • hindering

Many pastoralists are conservative and change their systems only slowly.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: There are ongoing education programmes and demonstrations on target properties.

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

Investment costs for fencing and water points can be burden on individual land holders.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: There are various possible subsidies available (see 'Inputs', under 'Incentives').

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • enabling

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights helped a little the approach implementation: In general, implementation of Ecograze principles is undertaken by an individual on private leasehold land. Ecograze is well suited to this individualised system.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Traditionally, men undertake on-farm planning, implementation of activities and provide labour. Women play an important role in planning and management of finances, and tend to take a more strategic view on NRM issues than the men.

  • national government (planners, decision-makers)
  • Govt. agencies/extensionistes
3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation passive workshops/seminars, field days
planning self-mobilization consultation with specialists
implementation self-mobilization fencing and water points
monitoring/ evaluation self-mobilization field observations; field observations of pasture composition; economic assessments
Research interactive on-farm; on-farm field trials and demonstration areas

3.3 Flow chart (if available)

Description:

Programme organization: Components and activities at different levels of the Ecograze programme.

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly land users, supported by SLM specialists
Explain:

Mainly made by land users in consultation with technology experts and government agencies; recognition that Ecograze principles can benefit land users and the environment due to research results of field trials.

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by by land users* alone (self-initiative / bottom-up). Mainly made by land users.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?

Ja

Form of training:
  • courses
Subjects covered:

The Ecograze principles and findings have been incorporated into a training course entitled 'Grazing Land Management (GLM) Education Package'. To date (2005) over 100 farmers have participated in the course and it is anticipated that in the next three years this number will reach over 1,000 producers.

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?

Ja

Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
  • at permanent centres
Describe/ comments:

Key elements: In on-going research trials in cooperation with land-users, government officers build up their knowledge and capacity to support farmers . Field days form part of the extension and education process. , Government assistance with extension and training through free advice provided by extension officers is helpful, Subsidies to attend training courses like GLM Education also assist with the uptake and adoption of Ecograze. ; There is also a significant interaction between neighbouring properties in sharing of ideas and successes and failures. Commonly, these neighbouring properties are linked through catchment or a Landcare groups.

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, a little
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
Specify type of support:
  • financial
Give further details:

financial (see Annex A3)

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?

Ja

Comments:

Bio-physical aspects were regular monitored by 0 through measurements
Socio-cultural aspects were ad hoc monitored by land users through observations
Economic / production aspects were regular monitored by 0 through measurements;
Area treated aspects were ad hoc monitored by 0 through measurements
No. of land users involved aspects were ad hoc monitored by project staff through measurements
There were no changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: Further research and testing, on-going monitoring and evaluation is underway after the initial project. It is too early to state what changes are likely other than obviously needing to adapt to individual land-users resources and available finances.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?

Ja

Specify topics:
  • economics / marketing
  • technology
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

The impact of the ongoing research on understanding and implementing the technology through the Ecograze project is significant, and continues to be so. Research into various technical aspects of grazing management has been recently supplemented by economic analyses of costs and benefits.

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: government (national government): 40.0%; local community / land user(s) (community / local): 60.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?

Ja

If yes, specify type(s) of support, conditions, and provider(s):

Local Landcare groups often request assistance, and this is provided either from the research agencies or from extension officers or through grant applications to the Natural Heritage Trust.

5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • none
 
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?

Geen

5.5 Other incentives or instruments

Were other incentives or instruments used to promote implementation of SLM Technologies?

Ja

If yes, specify:

During the research phase of Ecograze, incentives were not available. However, since then, newly established Government initiatives such as the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, which commenced in 2003, have increased the number of incentives (eg support for on-ground works such as fencing, relocation of water points etc) available to implement management practices such as those recommended in Ecograze.

6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Ecograze leads to retention of 3P grasses ('perennial, productive and palatable' grasses), and therefore better pasture coverage, soil retention and greater water use efficiency.

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Ecograze principles have been included in the new Grazing Land Management Education package - which is being used across northern Australia by Meat and Livestock Australia and other agencies also. It has also now been incorporated into university courses on grazing management.

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

Progress is continuing with further field trials and participation from land users. Those land users who have begun with the Ecograze system can continue without external support.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Adoption of the technology should result in financial reward. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continue ongoing economic analysis as an indication of technology success.)
The system has been very well documented and adapted to the land users conditions through the involvement of research, the land users, primary industry, and extension. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continued support for applied/on-farm research to adapt the system to the needs of the land users and the environment. Support for long-term monitoring.)
State government extension agencies have also readily accepted Ecograze and are actively promoting its principles with landholders.
The approach is focussed on changing attitudes to management in the long term. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continue with training and education programmes.)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
One-off training programs such as the Grazing Land Management Education package (a 3-day course) may not be enough to sustain initial commitment to testing new management options. Create support network and supply follow-up training and/or support.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Ash A, Corfield J and Taoufik T (undated) The ECOGRAZE Project: developing guidelines to better manage grazing country. CSIRO, Meat and Livestock Commission and Queensland Government

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