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Bestprac- Focused Thinking and Action- Rural Directions

The Bestprac project began in 1997 and was developed to improve arid zone Rangeland wool and meat producing businesses profit, environment and wellbeing. Bestprac involves Rangeland wool producers participating in small groups to apply management systems that improve individual productivity, growth and whole business performance (lifestyle, profit and environment) and viability. 

Each group works with a facilitator to improve skills and confidence in Rangeland property and livestock management. Groups identify projects that have the potential to progress a business towards achieving their goals. Targeted skills training and/or on farm research projects focus learning and improve confidence in decision making. There are currently 28 groups operating throughout South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. A total of 230 businesses participate in the project with approximately 4,880,000kg of wool produced annually by these businesses. 

In total the Bestprac participants manage approximately 863,200 sheep per annum. Participation of each of the groups varies in length. Some groups have participated since start-up and others have only started in the wake of the 2002 drought. Even though the participation time has varied, a recent Financial Evaluation has demonstrated that the Payback Period for producer's investment in the program is Year 1 with a benefit: cost ratio of 2:1. 

Throughout the life of the project, other evaluations were conducted. These have demonstrated that the Bestprac project has met its objectives. The recent Impact Evaluation reported that 80% were satisfied and stated that Bestprac had met their expectations. 83% implemented changes in practice as a result of Bestprac and 70% got more out of the program than they expected via significant, unexpected or unintended benefits. 

As Bestprac participants have learnt more about their production system, the following changes and improvements within businesses were made: 

 o Reduced mortalities through the supplementary paddock feeding of sheep 

 o Lotfeeding lambs for specific market niches 

 o Modified wool marketing strategies o Improved lambing percentages through ram testing and feeding, nutritional management of ewes and changing the timing of lambing o Increased wool production through improved pasture management (primarily a shift from set stocking to rotational grazing). The most significant achievements of Bestprac participants throughout the lifetime of this project have been: o Financial management changes that have been implemented into the business, such as growth and succession strategies, annual benchmarking and off-farm investments 

o Environmental systems have been implemented into businesses such as EMS, QA, Vegetation testing with PIRD funding and V-Gate Green Tick Accreditation o Social systems have been improved and developed including mental health seminars, all family members being involved in Bestprac meetings and group support and networking 

 o Leadership skills have been developed with Bestprac members involved in local and national industry groups, Nuffield Scholarship program, Farmer of the Year program and public speaking at events like the World Merino Conference. 

The Pastoral wool and meat industry is already benefiting from this project​ today. The Bestprac project has empowered, motivated and up-skilled over 250 producers over the lifetime of the project. This is a significant industry segment and as these people filter their knowledge through their local networks the industry as a whole also benefits. Producers have been exposed to other positive producers, cutting-edge research and development and the profitable and exciting possibilities for the industry. 

Bestprac has been a successful, beneficial and rewarding project for everyone involved. For anyone involved in this project, there is only one conclusion that can be made; this project has met its objectives. The PAP and the current National Coordinator of Bestprac have been planning and developing the next version of the Bestprac project. It is hoped that further funding will be provided by the funding partners so that the success and impact of the Bestprac project can continue into the future.

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3.9MB 16/02/2012

This page was last updated on 21/07/2017

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