All of the farming sector knows that climate variability, drought annual autumn feed gap along with general land degradation are all impacting upon the grazing profitability of WA farm lands. With Federal Government Caring for our Country funding, Greening Australia’s Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation (WOPR) trial is now demonstrating an innovative approach to integrate large-scale establishment of native perennial vegetation into existing grazing systems to address these issues.
The approach establishes shelterbelt plantings across low production or damaged paddocks but with a key difference from other fodder systems. The belts are comprised of a mix of native plants with proven fodder attributes an outcome made possible through collaboration with CSIRO’s Enrich program.
The Western Australian Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation (WOPR) pilot project commenced in January 2011 after funding was won from the federal government’s Caring for Our Country fund (CFOCC).The WOPR project goal for 2011 was to engage 10 landholders and establish 100ha to the WOPR system. Achieving this goal was relatively easy as farmers could see the benefits of turning unproductive areas of their farms into living haystacks for use when annual feed supplies run out, especially after an extremely dry previous season.
Now the first 2 years of CFOC funding has come to an end with David Collins, our WOPR Project Officer and his workers delivering a very fine outcome for this first CFOC grant. The project target was for 200ha and the team more than delivered with 660km of direct seeding and more than 50,000 seedlings planted on 327ha across 20 properties. With one more year to be completed we are well on the way to establishing a strong group of WOPR focused farmers.