Environment - the engine room
Environmental outcomes are not always recognised as key objectives in grazing businesses. Building ‘natural capital’ is a new concept, which can be defined by the extent to which producers build:
- the on-farm resources on which the production system directly depends (soils and pastures)
- the farm’s natural resources, such as native vegetation, riparian zones and waterways (protection and restoration as appropriate)
- practices that minimise impacts from the grazing business on the off-farm environment
- knowledge and awareness of the key environmental issues for their property, catchment and region and how to manage these within a productive and profitable grazing business
- an ability to understand and manage the interactions between climate, water, soils, nutrients, trees and biodiversity in grazing systems
Our most successful grazing businesses deliberately incorporate management of environmental issues into their core operation, by doing some or all of the following:
- active involvement in Landcare or other environmental groups
- maintain a high proportion of perennial grasses (native or introduced) in their pastures
- develop targets or plans that encourage environmental management as an integral part of their grazing business such as fencing and actively managing riparian zones and remnant vegetation
- increase biodiversity on their property using native species where possible
- aim for a minimum 10-15% of the property to be managed with a conservation priority, including at least one ’patch’ of remnant vegetation of 10 hectares or more.
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