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National Review of On-Farm Natural Resource Monitoring Tools for Red-Meat Producers
The integration of natural resource management (NRM)1 principles into agricultural production systems is increasingly recognised as fundamental to achieving sustainable land and water management. . Sound NRM improves the natural resource base (land, water, biodiversity), contributing to increased productivity and enabling producers to respond to community demand for environmentally friendly production systems. Certain markets favour agricultural products that have been grown in an environmentally friendly manner – organic or free range meat, and chemical free fibre such as wool are now commonly marketed with premium prices. Australian primary producers are also becoming increasingly aware that one of the competitive advantages they can develop is a ‘clean and green’ image and label.
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) currently manages an on-farm Quality
Assurance Standard program known as the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) Quality Assurance Standard. This program provides the framework for producers to readily adopt quality assurance systems. The MLA is investigating the potential for developing an optional Environmental Quality Assurance module as part of the LPA framework. This initiative is to assist red meat producers gain recognition for responsible on-farm environmental management. Monitoring of natural resources on farm enables producers to assess their own environmental performance to demonstrate contributions toward environmental improvements.
A significant number of natural resource monitoring tools are currently available to red-meat producers from a diverse range of sources including red-meat producers themselves, agricultural agencies, research and development corporations, regional NRM bodies, Landcare organisations and universities. This study involves assessing and collating an inventory of tools from these sources so that they can be applied specifically to on farm landuse management. This information maybe directly related to resource productivity e.g. monitoring pasture biomass to optimise utilisation rates and monitoring threats e.g. weed abundance in native pasture so that appropriate management action can take place.
Red-meat producers can also use natural resource monitoring information to demonstrate sound environmental management practices. As environmental stewards, producers management practices directly influence the natural resource base upon which they are dependent. Increasingly the community is questioning these management practices across the agricultural sector. NRM monitoring information can be used to substantiate good management practices and build greater credibility in the agricultural sector.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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