Rangelands Living Skin project field day held at Wyndham Station

The Rangelands Living Skin project focuses on achieving environmental and production improvements in grazing businesses. 

Recently, over 40 people gathered at Wyndham Station near Wentworth for a field day as part of the project.

The field day started with an introduction of the project and property by Gus Whyte from Wyndham Station.

Gus described their management practices and principles, which include the importance they place on having a diversity of management, as a way of encouraging a diversity of plants.

Sarah McDonald from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, who is also leading the project, introduced the concept of co-designed and collaborative research. 

From a Rangelands Living Skins project perspective, this has involved 12 project partners, including 4 landholders, working together to hold various extension events and establish research trials examining the impact of grazing management, water ponding, ripping, herd effect and gypsum.

Two of the participating landholders, Graham Finlayson (Bokhara Plains) and Glenn Humbert (Gurrawarra), gave an overview of their management principles, including the use of short graze and long rest periods, and the changes they’ve observed as a result across their properties.  

A rangeland rehabilitation water ponding site was the first paddock stop where participants walked around the u-shaped banks and check banks that had been created over ~ 60 ha of scald to increase vegetation and reduce the erosion occurring.

The increase in plant growth and diversity in response to the ponding was clear.

At a second paddock stop, participants split into groups to observe pasture differences across a management comparison fence line and had a robust discussion on soil and carbon dynamics in rangelands systems. 

Following the paddock tour, Megan Willis from the South Australian Research and Development Institute, showcased the potential opportunities that virtual fencing offers in a pastoral environment, especially for confining stock for ease of mustering.

The next presentation came from Sue Hatcher and Laura Broughton, independent livestock consultants, who co-presented on a Meat & Livestock Australia project with producer demonstration sites and the benefits of pregnancy scanning to identify diversity and improve sheep management in the rangelands.

They showed the potential gains in lamb survival and productivity that can be achieved within 5-10 years by scanning for multiples and making informed culling decisions. 

James Barnet from Resource Consulting Services concluded the day with a short overview of some key business benchmarking metrics relevant to rangelands, and highlighted that, importantly, improvement in landscape health can result in improved profitability for livestock enterprises. 

The field day was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended, and landholders are encouraged to attend upcoming opportunities.

Visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website for further information on this project.

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