The North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC) has welcomed an announcement by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Meat and Livestock Australia of 24.4 million in funding to improve pasture resilience in Queensland.
The need for further research into pasture resilience was identified as part of NABRC’s extensive consultation with its network of producers connected to 11 Regional Beef Research Committees (RBRCs) throughout northern Australia.
NABRC Chair, Dr John Taylor said he was delighted to see the program come to fruition after NABRC’s submission to MLA last year.
“This project directly aligns with one of the key research gaps identified as part of NABRC’s research priority setting process.”
“I am proud to see that research priorities identified by NABRC's RBRCs have resulted in this significant funding announcement,” Dr Taylor said.
The five-year Queensland Pasture Resilience Program (QPRP) project will target pasture dieback, land condition decline and pasture rundown, all of which pose significant threats to beef productivity in northern Australia.
Morinish grazier and Central Queensland Regional Beef Research Committee Chair Catriona Pearce welcomed the program, saying it would improve the profitability and sustainability of beef production.
“The development of new pasture legume varieties and strategies to improve land productivity and manage pasture dieback will be valuable for CQ beef producers,” she said.
“The CQ region was hit hard by pasture dieback so it is great to see further funding allocated to improve pasture resilience.”
MLA Feedbase Program Manager Dr Allan Peake said the program focus on improving legume varieties and agronomy packages has a strong alignment with MLA’s investment plan.
"Improving producer use of legumes is a really key objective for the red meat sector across Australia,” Dr Peake said.
“Legumes have a role to play in helping address land condition decline, pasture rundown, and pasture dieback.”
Dr Peake said in the environments where legumes grow well, producers can use legume ‘production paddocks’ to boost cattle productivity and reduce grazing pressure on other paddocks to protect land condition.
“We also know that legumes are resistant to pasture dieback, while the nitrogen they bring to the production system helps alleviate pasture rundown,” he said.
“And the increased cattle growth rates that occur on paddocks that include well-managed legumes mean that producers can finish animals quicker and reduce methane emissions”.
Dr Peake said the program is now underway, with legume adoption workshops and other sown pasture demonstration sites soon to be rolled out throughout the Brigalow Belt and in North Queensland, along with a 5-year extension to the Wambiana grazing trial near Charters Towers, and grazing demonstration sites in Western Queensland.
Interested producers are welcome to contact QDAF extension officers to be included in mailing lists for upcoming events.
“We’re really pleased to be partnering with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on this initiative,” Dr Peake said.
“Throughout the negotiation process I’ve been really impressed with the passion the QDAF researchers and extension officers have shown to make a real difference to producers in Queensland with world class research and extension activities.”
NABRC connects producers, researchers and industry stakeholders to drive improved production in Australia’s northern grassfed beef industry.
Its influence and collaboration efforts have resulted in game-changing research programs for the beef industry including, for example, the Northern Breeding Business (NB2) project, pasture dieback research, phosphorous for cattle fertility, and the famous CashCow project.
NABRC also supports producers to adopt new technology and best practices by sharing cutting edge research solutions from its partners at MLA, CSIRO, state governments and Australia’s universities.