GrazingFutures–Promoting a resilient grazing industry

GrazingFutures is a Drought and Climate Adaptation Program (DCAP) funded project aimed at helping producers better manage drought and other risks associated with extensive livestock businesses. The project objectives are to:

  1. Prioritise the delivery of workshops, training and targeted support within the themes of people and business, grazing land management and animal production based on verifiable industry needs, data and regional drought conditions.
  2. Support grazing businesses in western Queensland to improve business resilience, drought recovery and future drought preparedness.
  3. Improve the skills and capability of grazing industry support officers from both the public and private sectors to facilitate improvement in business resilience, drought recovery and future drought preparedness of grazing businesses in western Queensland.
  4. Partner with government, non-government agencies and other partners to deliver comprehensive support to grazing businesses and value add to existing services.
  5. Analyse and document key learnings from grazing businesses adopting objective measurement to enhance drought recovery, increase future drought preparedness and plan for other business risks.

A key strength of GrazingFutures is that it is producer-centred, collaborative and provides a coherent plan to more effectively share resources and better target support services to the grazing industry. GrazingFutures is built on measuring and understanding the industry benefits of project activities  and where necessary, refine what, and how, these activities are  delivered.

The project and staff are extremely versatile and harness many formal and informal collaborations to meaningfully engage with industry around managing business risks. GrazingFutures staff collaborate with other DAF staff, natural resource management (NRM) organisation staff, regional AgForce staff, rural financial counsellors, the Queensland Rural and Industry Authority (QRIDA), the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and private consultants.

Since 2017, the GrazingFutures team have delivered over 190 grazing industry training events and activities, which were attended by over 1500 producers, representing 1060 grazing businesses (and over 20 million hectares of land managed), and 550 participants from government agencies, NRM organisations, agribusiness and tertiary agricultural students.  Of producers who attended specific events, 57% indicated that they intend to make one or more changes to their enterprise, and 15% are implementing practice change/s.

In the central west, the partnership with Desert Channels Queensland (DCQ) is working well with staff joining forces with GrazingFutures, as well as with the Prickly Acacia and E-Beef projects. E-Beef is also producer-focused and aims to demonstrate ‘how innovative technologies can inform timely management decisions to increase animal production and business profitability’ (DCQ).

The eastern southern Queensland team have been kicking goals with their creative events such as the ‘Climate, forage and finance’ days and the ‘Yarn at the yards’. Both days were very successful—17% of ‘Yarn at the Yards’ participants indicated that they would definitely be making a change to their grazing business as a result of what they had learnt. Many of the changes and discussions included:

  • investigating improved pastures
  • data management
  • selling decisions
  • water point placement to manage grazing pressure
  • time of joining
  • bull management.

Case studies and narratives are being prepared throughout the project to capture and share producers’ knowledge and experience in managing drought and climate challenges. These are available from the GrazingFutures project page and DCAP website.

GrazingFutures staff are extremely flexible and continue to adapt project delivery to meet the needs of industry to build resilience in both extremes of flood and drought.

For more information please contact Joe Rolfe, Principal Extension Officer (Beef), on 0427 378 412 or joe.rolfe@daf.qld.gov.au