MLA – weed project | Landholders Driving Change

Holistic approach to managing priority weeds

THIS three-year project will develop five demonstration properties within the BBB catchment to trial and promote holistic approaches to the management of priority weeds.

It will also adopt neighbour-friendly collaborative weed management practices, and share information with the broader community.

The properties will tackle the weeds of most importance to their area, for example, rubbervine, chinee apple, prickly acacia, with the aim to: 

  • demonstrate the application of a cooperative approach to on-farm biosecurity;
  • apply current and emerging technologies; and
  • implement grazing best practices for inhibiting weed germination and establishment.

The project will seek expertise from scientists, technical specialists and other graziers to develop weed plans for the particular priority weed being tackled.

Project participants will:

  • trial an integrated and co-operative approach to weed management;
  • contribute $8000 in cash per annum for the development and implementation of a weed management plan for the property’s priority weed over three years;
  • undertake monitoring and evaluation,  and training and technical support, if required; and
  • host field days and other events to highlight the outcomes to the beef industry, and the broader community including land managers of solar, mines and linear infrastructure – because biosecurity is everyone’s business.

Damian Tapiolas spruiks his weed-spraying outfit at a Collinsville Weeds Forum.

LDC has been successful in securing funding from MLA to establish two Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS). 

MLA partners with producer groups to achieve improved business productivity and profitability outcomes. 

 The MLA PDS program supports groups of livestock producers to adapt, validate and demonstrate the business value of integrating new management practices and associated skills into local farming systems.  

The key outcome of a PDS is producer adoption of the demonstrated management practices resulting in improved business performance.

The LDC project’s two PDS will focus on:

  • regenerative grazing practices (a five year project) and;
  • an integrated approach to weed control (a three year project). 

MLA, with support from LDC, will provide the producer-led demonstration sites with facilitation and extension, monitoring and evaluation of on-farm practice change, and communication and reporting, to oversee the demonstration.

Click here for information on the regenerative grazing practices PDS.   

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KEQ #1

Figure 1. Total fine sediment reduction by project type and erosion source. Inset shows the proportion of the total project area for each project type.

These estimates have been calculated using two methods: 

1) The pollutant reduction component of the Alluvium/Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) investment tool for hillslope and streambank erosion management projects; 

2) The Reef Trust Gully Toolbox method for gully erosion management projects. The LDC Water Quality Report 2020 (Waterhouse et al., 2020) highlights that a number of assumptions underlay these calculations, therefore these figures should be treated as the best available estimate of sediment reductions to date.

Preventing sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef

Each wet season sediment is washed into local waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

Most sediment is very fine, and can stay suspended for a long time and can travel great distances. Valuable topsoil is lost from production, and increased concentrations on the reef can be harmful to seagrasses and corals. 

Landholders in the BBB have completed 69 on-ground water quality practice changes, and it is estimated that these have contributed a fine sediment reduction of 6,154 tonnes per year from reaching the GBR. 

Of this, approximately half of the sediment savings are attributable to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks, and the other half as a result of gully remediation treatments across a broad range of scales, as shown in the graphs above. 

The table below also highlights the relatively small area of intervention in the gully management projects compared to the large sediment savings that these can achieve - 60 per cent of the sediment savings over only 4 per cent of the project area.

Table 1. Estimated sediment reductions (tonnes) from projects completed in the LDC Project to date.

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*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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*The Exploring New Incentives activity area has provided an opportunity for graziers to adopt improved land management practices through a range of activities. For some of these properties, it was the first time they signed contracts for on-ground works.

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The LDC project monitors four gully sites (represented in this table) with gold standard equipment and analysis, carried out by CSIRO.

Results have been compiled in a preliminary report from Bartley et al (2020), with the final report expected to be released by the end of 2020. The preliminary report shows all four sites have indicators of improvements, notably the Strathbogie and Mt Wickham sites.

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Reef regulations - grazing, standard conditions

  1. For land in good or fair condition (more than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), continue using measures to maintain land condition.
  2. For land in poor condition (less than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition.
  3. For land in degraded condition (less than 20 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition OR prevent areas from further degrading or expanding.
  4. Keep records of measures taken and also of agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and mill mud or mill ash applied to land.
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