Sheep and wool production is set to make a comeback in South West Queensland, with landholders’ keen to cash in on the “golden era” of Australia’s agriculture.
Landholders have renewed optimism for the return of sheep to the Mulga country with the rollout of innovative fencing developed by South West NRM Pty Ltd.
South West NRM Pty Ltd Chairman, Mr Mark O’Brien said “Over the last 20 years we have seen cattle grazing replace traditional sheep and wool production in the South West. This is largely attributed to increased predation from wild dogs and pasture competition with kangaroos”.
“Landholders have been left disempowered by the financial burdens of control measures and failings to bring pest populations into check.
“Whole communities have suffered from the loss of additional jobs that the sheep industry provides, which has been compounded by extreme weather conditions,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The innovative fencing approach sees landholders working cooperatively to build and maintain an exclusion fence surrounding a group of properties.
“By working together, the group can effectively manage the pest populations within the fenced area. We have seen significant gains already with improved livestock production and profitability, with flow on benefits to the community.
“The fencing rollout is part of South West NRM’s Collaborative Area Management project which provides 50% of the cost of materials, funded through the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative.
“We expect to see the rapid return of sheep to the Mulga country as the capacity for landholders to keep pests in check is greatly improved. This region is better suited to sheep and 2017 forecasts which will see a steady demand for lamb and wool with record prices will drive these decisions.
“South West NRM is an organisation concerned with sustainable land management, and we see investment in pest management already demonstrating increased production and profitability and better environmental stewardship. We are excited for the confidence in agriculture and continued investment by government to see our region recover from the challenges over the past two decades,” Mr O’Brien said.
The Collaborative Area Management project is funded through the Queensland Government Regional NRM Investment Program and the Feral Pest Initiative. Funding has also been provided through the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.
Prepared by Liz Todd, Media Consulant, 0457 831 512, firstname.lastname@example.org
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