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Water Security for the Australian Feedlot Industry: Solutions and Recommendations

The purpose of this project was to evaluate current and future feedlot water demands and to better understand the regulatory/policy concerns related to water in order to identify ways to ensure future feedlot water security. The final report combines the analyses from the Regulatory Assessment and the Water Demand estimation to propose recommendations for near-term and long-term feedlot water security in Australia.


Key Findings and Recommendations:

Recommendations for influencing policy and improving education/training were identified from regulatory and industry research.

1. Water Sharing Plans/Water Resource Plans are in the process of updates currently, and those within The Murray-Darling Basin require submittal for government endorsement by February 2019. This creates some urgency for preparing submissions to protect the interests of feedlot operators in relevant catchments. Information is included identifying those which affect numerous feedlot operators and warrant formal comment to protect the interests of feedlot operators.

2. In a related vein, water reuse may be a cost-effective source for some feedlot operators in future, if town water incorporates proper distribution systems to accommodate this use. Feedlot operators may be able to claim a re-credit to their allocation by using reclaimed water. Water Sharing Plans/Water Resource Plans may be an appropriate venue to validate such arrangements, as many regional utilities will be upgrading plant facilities in the near future.

3. Under the Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure Program announced on 18 July 2018, funding is available for cost share projects to include retrofits or upgrading of on-farm water efficiency projects and off-farm improvements to channel systems stock pipelines and so forth; feedlot operators may wish to aggregate interests to pursue funding in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

4. On-farm storage and rainwater harvesting is governed by various regulations that vary by state. Ensuring that additional states do not adopt legislation that reduces feedlot operator flexibility in on-farm storage should be a priority for feedlot operators.

5. High security water, whilst more expensive upfront, provides greater economic certainty for feedlot operators, and should be purchased in the normal course of business. Where only general security water is available, it should be purchased for allocations only.

6. Opportunities for MLA or ALFA to source and supply seasonal forecasts and market information from industry experts to feedlot operators exist. Consistent climate and market information sharing will allow feedlot operators to make timely and informed management decisions. 


Title Size Date published
2.8MB 31/10/2018
1.2MB 31/10/2018
564.1KB 31/10/2018


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
Water Security for the Australian Feedlot Industry
01/01/2018 01/10/2018

This page was last updated on 31/10/2018