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Sustainable Grazing Systems

Grazing regimes in Australia have typically focused on short-term returns without looking to long term sustainability. However, unless new sustainable systems are also seen by producers to be at least as profitable in the short term as traditional methods, they are unlikely to be adopted.

Goals and strategies

The Sustainable Grazing Systems Programme (SGS) pioneered an approach to bring researchers, producers and extension agents into a partnership to collectively improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of grazing systems in Southern Australia’s high rainfall zone. The SGS goals were to have: 

  • 2000 producers adopt changes to their grazing systems that are at least 10% more profitable and more sustainable; and
  • another 5000 producers trialing at least some of the Program’s recommendations.

SGS formally concluded on 30 June 2001, but rather than begin a new program immediately, some of the investors in SGS have funded a ‘Harvest Year’ to ensure the full value is derived from the Programme’s investment.

Collaborating Organisations

Lead agency

 Meat & Livestock Australia

 Funding partners

Murray Darling Basin Commission, Land & Water Australia

Program partners

NSW Agriculture, Victoria Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Agriculture WA, NSW Land and Water Conservation, Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, South Australian Department of Primary Industries, Universities of Melbourne and New England, and producers and producer groups across the high rainfall zone of Southern Australia.

Highlights

  • Quarterly publication and distribution of Prograzier magazine.
  • Development of a new product, PROGRAZE® Update, with a strong emphasis on water management and sustainability, and its planned delivery to around 2000 producers (PROGRAZE® graduates) over the next two years.
  • Distribution of a special series of SGS Tips and Tools to 11 000 producers.
  • A consolidated SGS database, which captures in one database and common format all of the data from the SGS National Experiment.
  • 8000 producers made beneficial changes to grazing practices that they anticipate will yield financial and environmental benefits.

id: 3187 / created: 15 April, 2009 / last updated: 22 April, 2009