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Biodiversity and vegetation

The cattle, sheep and goat industries in Australia have had an impact on the Australia's biodiversity. This ranges from the direct impacts of land clearing for conversion to exotic pastures, overgrazing and trampling, to indirect impacts such as the introduction of weeds, changes to fire regimes, altered hydrological flows and major impacts on soil.

In response to the potential impacts of grazing on biodiversity, MLA has implemented a broad range of initiatives including research into sustainable land management practices and how the industry can minimise the impacts on biodiversity.

Much of this research is ongoing, with the findings being developed by MLA into a range of tools that will enable producers to change management practices in a way that protects the diverse ecosystems on-farm as well as ensuring their production businesses remain economically viable. These initiatives include:

  • Training and education programs.
  • Codes of practice.
  • Monitoring systems management guidelines.

 

Tips for managing biodiversity on-farm

There are many examples of the successful management of on-farm biodiversity. Some of these are producer initiatives and others stem from the range of detailed best practice guidelines available to producers. In general, producers should consider the following on their properties:

Planning

  • Develop a vision and set clear goals for the property.
  • Develop, implement and update a property management plan that incorporates biodiversity conservation as a core component.
  • Develop a risk management plan, particularly for use in drought and economic down-times.

Management

  • Match stocking rate to carrying capacity.
  • Keep total grazing pressure within the sustainable capacity of the property.
  • Manage both the animal and pasture component of the enterprise.
  • Use a strategic approach to grazing management, including the use of spelling.
  • Utilise perennial pastures.
  • Keep soils healthy and in good condition.
  • Maintain ground cover above 60%-70%.
  • Set aside at least 10-15% of the property as core areas for biodiversity conservation.
  • Keep weeds and feral animals in check.

Monitoring

  • Monitor the impacts of management on production and biodiversity goals and incorporate results into new practices.

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