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Grain and Graze Program Management Agreement
The Grain & Graze Program provided mixed farming enterprises with new, ‘whole farm’ knowledge, tools and capacity to adopt management changes that will increase production of crops, pastures and animals while maintaining, or enhancing, biodiversity and the catchment resources which sustain them.Grain & Graze is a new research, extension and communication initiative that will deliver insights about how broadacre farmers with mixed enterprises can increase profitability and, at the same time, maintain or improve the health of their farm environment. The initiative mainly targeted broad acre farms in southern Australia where production included a mix of cereal cropping, and sheep and cattle grazing enterprises. The program ran for five years over 2003 to 2008.
In excess of 40,000 Australian farmers were aware of it, including over 18,000 mixed farmers who were the primary audience. Of these, more than 8,000 participated and around 4,000 trialled practices intended to provide benefits in terms of productivity and profitability and farm and catchment environmental health. By the end of the program, an estimated 3,200 farmers had adopted the practices advocated by the program. Evaluation data suggests even higher levels of adoption are to come as part of the program’s legacy.
The program was conducted across nine regions spread throughout the medium rainfall zone of Australia. It has been considered a revolutionary experiment in combining bottom-up regional processes, complex interdisciplinary systems research, national triple bottom line targets and novel methods of extension methodology.
Improving farm profit and environmental health through a holistic approach to whole-farm vegetation management lay at the heart of Grain & Graze, whether through its focus on perennialising farming landscapes, identifying, understanding the role of and protecting biodiversity assets, or maximising groundcover through broadening the options to continuously adapt to the most optimal crop-livestock-pasture mix given the prevailing climatic, market and resource conditions.
The production focus that this suggests belies the enormous environmental benefits that Grain & Graze achieved.
➢ 4 R&D Corporation partners
➢ 9 regions across the the medium rain fall zone
➢ 13 participating catchment management organisations
➢ 15 farming systems groups
➢ 66 contracted partners in total
➢ $31 million budget in total over 5 years
➢ 278 demonstration and trial sites
➢ 180 training courses
➢ >8,000 participating farmers
➢ >5,000 farmers actively trialling activities
➢ 3,200 farmers adopting recommended practices
➢ >200 publications, tools and manuals
➢ >100 research papers
➢ National database of collected national and regional data
➢ A Banksia Environmental Award for the national Biodiversity project
➢ 3.4:1 ROI for the 4 core partners
➢ 1.5:1 ROI for the program overall
➢ 9% average increase in profit for adopting farmers
➢ Increased groundcover and improved soil health in all nine regions
➢ Increased pride and confidence reported by 3,750 participating farmers
This page was last updated on 29/06/2017
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