Story sponsored by Gallagher Australia.
A total of 13 Landcare Groups and individual graziers have been awarded an inaugural Gallagher Landcare Fencing Grant to support improved grazing management and conservation across the nation.
Successful recipients are using a combination of in-kind Gallagher Electric Fencing and monetary support to facilitate their project outcomes.
Gallagher Australia General Manager Malcolm Linn said he couldn't be happier with results, as all projects will lead to tangible environmental or sustainable agriculture outcomes.
"Gallagher Landcare Fencing Grants are an excellent opportunity for us to showcase - through our people and products - our commitment to grazing management, conservation, feral fencing and assisting Australia's Landcare community," Mr Linn said.
"We've been very pleased with the number and quality of applications received and we're excited for the next phase of the process, with Landcarers and our Territory Managers getting stuck into implementing these projects."
Landcare Australia CEO Shane Norrish was equally pleased with the volume of applications and subsequent environmental outcomes.
"Having received more than 90 applications, we are delighted with the response to this inaugural grants program," Mr Norrish said.
"The quality of applications was exceptionally high and recipients of Gallagher Landcare Fencing Grants represent diverse grazing management and conservation projects."
One such recipient is the Basalt to Bay (B2B) Landcare Network who will utilise the support for a project in St Helens, which seeks to increase breeding success of a precious threatened species: the Southern Brown Bandicoot.
The site is a flat 3.4ha ewe lambing paddock containing the last public land population of bandicoots in the local area. The project encompasses fencing a predator proof multi-use farm and conservation paddock.
"We're seeking to demonstrate to farmers that they can establish small predator proof paddocks for high value conservation as well as for farm assets with the same Gallagher electric fencing systems," B2B's Network Facilitator Lisette Mill said.
"We're aiming to provide protection for the bandicoots while increasing high value lambing stud ewes' protection. We hope to confirm this method as the model for adopting threatened species in a farm context across Australia."
Another of the recipients, Summerland Pastoral will use their Gallagher Landcare support to facilitate a new approach to land stewardship in the Richmond Valley in NSW.
Their ambition is to create a profitable livestock business whilst regenerating both the pastured and wooded landscapes of their property, which sits between Toonumbar National Park and the Border Ranges and is approximately 50 percent pasture and 50 percent forest (including some dry rainforest).
Since purchasing the property in June 2017, they have commenced installation of holistic grazing infrastructure; embarked on a Landcare project to improve pasture health using methods that support the soil ecology; as well as another project to enhance the wildlife corridor through the property to better connect to the national parks.
The Gallagher Landcare Fencing Grant will help further these important initiatives by helping to obtain greater control over movement of grazing livestock, which will in turn help promote greater biodiversity and protect native vegetation and wildlife.
Meanwhile, The Green Swamp Revegetation and Management Project will use their fencing grant to further their conservation work in the Bremmer Catchment of the Scenic Rim Regional Shire at Silverdale in Queensland.
The team will undertake a four step project of installing fencing corridors and shelterbelts to protect both waterways and native habitats.
The project will remove livestock from waterways to reduce bank erosion and soil loss. It will also protect the riparian area from cattle and use ecological methods to reduce weed encroachment and promote native habitat growth.
The students of Winnaleah District High School will use their Gallagher Landcare Fencing Grant to replace internal fencing on their ag farm to help protect their native wetlands area.
The farm is highly popular with pupils, catering for all age groups, from Kindergarten through to Year 12. It is used primarily to teach the kids about animal husbandry; cropping; environmental, biological and chemical sciences; and sustainable agricultural management.
The fences will be fully insulated six-wire electric systems which will incorporate the latest in fencing technology. Central to the project is a Gallagher MB1000i Energizer with Fence Communication system and a WiFi Gateway, which gives staff and students peace of mind that their fences are working 24/7.
The project will accommodate structured grazing cycles, such as strip grazing, and support a variety of stock types. Furthermore the project will keep native wildlife out of grazing and cropping paddocks, yet allow them protection in the wetland areas.
Finally, Ellen Brockman Integrated Catchment Group Inc. will use their fencing grant to protect threatened ecological communities in the Ellen Brook and Brockman River Catchments from feral pigs and other pest animals.
In addition, by fencing a 1.7ha exclusion zone, the group will also be able to study how vegetation recovers when it is being protected compared to vegetation in similar areas that has not been fenced off.
The project will need to run for at least twelve months to cover all the seasons to ensure monitoring of the site is recording all possible plant growth, including weed species.
"A year should be sufficient to gain insight into the value of exclusion fencing on recovery of the vegetation community. Camera surveillance will occur on a monthly basis and photo points identified for a photo essay," a spokesperson for the group explained.
Story sponsored by Gallagher Australia.