Supporting farmers for drought resilience

SUMMARY

The ‘Increasing farmer capacity and responsiveness for managing more resilient feed-bases in drought-prone areas in Tasmania’ project aims to support drought-affected farmers with new strategies to improve drought resilience.

BACKGROUND

The increasing occurrence of drought in parts of Tasmanian including the midlands, Derwent catchment and Tasmanians east coast has significantly reduced seasonal ground cover. Without adaptive measures, these declines will lead to increased soil erosion and soil carbon loss, and a decline in viability of dryland grazing systems. This project aims to help address some of these issues by supporting farmers with more responsive planning tools and management strategies to improve dryland pasture management.

PARTNERS

This project is a collaboration between NRM North, NRM South, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Agriprove and producer groups affected by drought.

FUNDING

Australian Government Future Drought Fund, Drought Resilience Soils and Landscapes program

PROJECT DURATION

2021-2022

APPROACH

The project is working with farming groups on the east coast and Midlands to look at ways to improve drought-resilience by;

  • Working with three commercial farmers at four demonstration sites in the Midlands and east coast looking at pasture renovation and establishing winter forage crops, with the aim of improving ground cover and reducing soil erosion.
  • Hosting themed field days
  • A pilot to deliver the decision-support tool Farming Forecaster, a powerful feed budgeting and stock management tool. This tool enables graziers to get a better handle on current conditions and the likely range in pasture availability during the next 3-4 months. This pilot will be a first for Tasmania.
  • Establishing dryland soil moisture probe sites and a Tasmanian platform on the Farming Forecaster website that will display real time data on soil moisture, along with weather and pasture growth data.
  • Farming forecaster data will be presented in an easy-to-understand package to inform feed budgeting and stock management and will all be made available to farmers on the Farming Forecaster website and through training events.
  • Providing forecasting workshops and training in the use drought-resilience tools, including training in Farming Forecaster.

This project is supported by NRM South, through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.