Improve soil health, groundcover and minimise soil erosion in productive landscapes for improved profitability and sustainability.
The Big Picture:
Agriculture in the NRM North region has significant economic value with the gross value of agricultural production in the region estimated at $468.9M representing 38% of the State’s total in 2011/12. The sector is experiencing several emerging issues such as climate change, irrigation expansion and agricultural intensification, which are likely to change the agricultural sector over the next decade. There is an opportunity to work with the region’s farmers to improve their capacity to meet opportunities and threats from these emerging issues and to achieve higher levels of agricultural production and profitability through adoption of best practice environmental management.
The strategic focus of the Land Program is to build the skills and capacity of the region’s farmers to manage soil health and maintain ground cover. Soil health has been selected as a strategic focus area as it is one of the foundations of productive and profitable agricultural enterprises and poor management can lead to both environmental degradation as well as less profitable enterprises. Maintaining groundcover on farm is a strategic focus as it provides significant environmental benefits through reduction in erosion and farm runoff and increases profitability on farm. The focus on soil health and groundcover are considered good investments that will help buffer the impact of the emerging issues that will face the agricultural sector over the next decade.
The target issues and assets that NRM North will focus on between 2015-2025 include:
- Improving soil health in broadacre cropping soils, dairy and intensive beef production soils, and intensive horticulture soils; and
- Improving vegetation cover to reduce erosion.
The primary delivery method for the Land Program is through extension of advice and information to the region’s farmers on agricultural best practice. The program conducts extension through media, training, awareness-raising events, operating farm trials and by maintaining support relationships with farm discussion groups. Key partners in program delivery include; farm discussion groups, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Southern Farming Systems, consultants and agribusiness.