Back to R&D main

PDS WA - Implementation of Producer Demonstration Sites to increase research adoption and practice change in the Kimberly and Pilbara

Project start date: 15 March 2010
Project end date: 28 March 2017
Publication date: 01 March 2013
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle
Relevant regions: Western Australia
Download Report (6.4 MB)


This project was intended engage the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) to establish, manage, evaluate and report the impact of six (6) Producer Demonstration Sites (PDSs) in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia. Individual PDS projects provide up to $20,000 ($50,000 after 1 January 2012) to support northern beef producers implement on-farm research over a two-to-three year period.
The purpose of PDS projects is to support groups of beef producers to demonstrate, develop and adopt priority research technologies that will sustainably increase profit and productivity. The six PDS projects will show case the processes and decision making associated with the integration of known ‘best bet’ innovations into the management of production systems within the regions.
The aim was to provide focus and awareness of regional adaptation and commercial implementation of technologies, support practice change of the immediate group members and motivate the broader community to engage in further related learning activities to build their knowledge skills and confidence. The project was to be a central component to the communication and research adoption strategy being delivered for the Kimberly/Pilbara region and will form a central platform on which MLA and DAFWA were to collaborate and coordinate a number activities that support building knowledge, skills and practice change of producers within the region.The six Producer Demonstrations Sites funded under the umbrella agreement were:
Evaluation of mechanical intervention to re-introduce native pasture to severely degraded land
Assessing the economic and logistical benefits of using the Tick Off system to control external parasites
Reducing live weight loss between on-property yarding and export of cattle bound for Indonesia
Evaluating costs and benefits of twice-a-year versus once-a-year weaning musters in the Pilbara
Demonstrating the effects of P supplementation on productivity of heifers in the Pilbara region
Demonstrating the benefits of implementing water point telemetry on extensive beef enterprises

Under the PDS umbrella agreement DAFWA undertook 6 PDSs, 3 of which were successfully completed, one partially completed and two not completed. There were various reasons for not completing the PDSs but the project was initiated before a period of significant structural change within DAFWA. During the life of the project DAFWA made a strategic decision to reduce the amount of on-station RD&E activities and focus on off-station market and supply chain development activities. This led to a reduction in staff resources available to undertake the project. Of the seven staff that were initially involved in the PDS projects only two remain employed by DAFWA and only one is working directly in beef industry development activities. This significant change in staff has made it challenging to complete the project.
Recommendations to improve the success of future PDS projects include;Generation of ideas and topics for PDSs should be driven by producer groups such as Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman's Association and Land Conservation District Committees rather than service providers to increased producer ownership and participation in demonstrationsClearer role and responsibility for host stations and PDS producer group need to be defined including regular scheduled meetings and formal agreements with host stationPDS funding should be limited to relatively simple, short time frame demonstrations and alternative funding and project structures used for more complex , longer term local development or adaption activitiesPDS budgets should more clearly and completely outline true costs of running the demonstration for all parties (MLA, service provider/co-operator and host station)
Three final reports attached are:
B.NBP.0619 Part A (PDSWA001 - Investigating the practicality of regenerating degraded pastoral land on Larrawa station)
B.NBP.0619 Part B (PDSWA002 - Assessing the economic and logistical benefits of using the Tickoff system to control external parasites)
B.NBP.0619 Part C (PDSWA003 - Increasing awareness of weight change in feeder bulls between yarding and delivery to the exporter)

More information

Project manager: Jane Wightman
Primary researcher: Department of Primary Ind Regional