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Southern Fleurieu

Biodiversity:  Sustainable livestock grazing

Medium Priority

What is this issue

Over-grazing  - by livestock, horses (managed grazing)

Impacts of the issue

  • Decline in condition of native vegetation
  • Change in vegetation composition
  • Replacement of natives with disturbance tolerant exotic species and increase in shrubs in some grassy ecosystems
  • High grazing pressures is a barrier to recruitment for many native plant species

Causes

  • No fences to exclude stock (financial burden to de-stock and build fences)
  • No motivation to exclude stock (useful grazing land)
  • Lack of understanding/value of ecosystems
  • Skill or capacity to manage grazing pressure

Barriers

  • People are time poor
  • On small farms, off-farm income is needed, therefore less time for farm work, and little time to join farming groups to help with the task
  • Lack of existing fencing
  • Infrastructure cost
  • Different motivations for different land uses, e.g. horse properties may be more interested in animal health
  • Access to machinery or skills
  • Few catalysts to get small landholders together
  • Seemingly little motivation to join Landcare groups or work with neighbours
  • Often not cost effective to harvest/control

Who plays a role

  • Ag Bureaus
  • Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Farm advisors
  • Horse SA
  • Industry Groups
  • Landholders
  • Local Action Planning groups
  • Non-Government Organisations
  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board

Strategies and Actions

Build landholder capacity in grazing management

  • Provide landholder training in holistic grazing, targeting lifestyle landholders and small farms, and using existing networks (e.g. Horse SA)
  • Showcase local producers demonstrating good grazing management
  • Develop phone Apps and tools to help lifestyle and absentee landholders schedule management actions
  • Support networks and initiatives to increase interaction between small farm landholders, for better sharing of information and resources
  • Establish a Farmer Mentor Program
  • Support innovation in grazing management, such as use of virtual fencing

Protect high value, vulnerable areas from grazing impacts

  • Encourage fencing of vulnerable areas, such as swamps and riparian zones
  • Deliver incentives for fencing priority areas to reduce grazing impacts