Society of Precision Agriculture Australia EXPO 2017 held at Lockhart.
Local community groups will be able to undertake a wide range of projects from natural resource management and cultural heritage in the landscape to on-farm biosecurity planning following the announcement of the Riverina Local Land Services 2017-18 Community Grants Funding Program. The successful groups range from local high schools and Landcare groups, to producer groups and local councils, who will receive amounts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 for their specific projects.
A total of $200,802 has been awarded to local groups to enable them to undertake projects that utilise local knowledge to undertake on-ground works, hold workshops to keep up with the latest technology and information and to engage with schools and the wider community. The financial grants are matched by a total of $269,274 of in-kind contribution, demonstrating their commitment to their project and its benefits to their local community.
The projects and workshops will result in over 300 landholders upgrading skills and knowledge and revegetation of 30 hectares of significant high value conservation vegetation. Paddock trees will benefit from a grant provided to Riverina Highlands Landcare Network to reverse the decline of paddocks trees by protecting and reinstating trees in the landscape. Large, mature paddock trees are of significant ecological value, helping to conserve biodiversity in the landscape and playing many important roles for wildlife. They also provide multiple benefits for agriculture, making them a truly critical feature of the farming landscape.
The abundance and diversity of wild pollinators in the Riverina Local Land Services region will also benefit from a grant provided to the Australian Melon Association. The information gained from this project will not only inform biodiversity management, it will also enable potential productivity gains for farmers if rates of pollination can be improved through better management. Funding has also been given to the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia to conduct a Precision Agriculture Expo in West Wyalong in 2018.
This will bring together farmers and advisors to share knowledge and improve skills around the practical applications of precision agriculture technologies on-farm. The 2017/18 Community Grants Funding Program is supported by Riverina Local Land Services through funding from the NSW Government. A full list of grant recipients is available from the Riverina Local Land Services website. $19,088 will go towards the the rejuvenation of a section of the Burrangong Creek, which has been identified as having significant weed and erosion issues.
Hilltops Council has already allocated $1,500,000 to the project through the Stronger Regions Community Grants Program. The site is visible and accessible to the community, which will be important in engaging with the community, and in raising awareness of the Project and the issues of the Creek. The Project will focus on the removal of priority weeds, revegetation of identified erosion hotspots, as well as other erosion control works across the site, the engagement of the community and the establishment of a natural body quality education and monitoring program.
$20,000 will go to Harden Landcare through a series of five new soil moisture probes, located in strategic soil types and in tactical landscape positions, which will allow multiple off-site growers, agronomists & interested landholders from the region the capability to make fertilizer and other decisions from their data. Soil water information used in combination with other tools e.g. Yield Prophet or Soil WaterApp empowers growers building confidence in this decision process. Over time, this project has the capacity to create learning opportunities for growers as they compare yield results, inputs, climate data and soil moisture status at trigger points through each season. Other management decisions like grazing options, stock purchases and marketing decisions may also flow from this knowledge. In water limited farming systems, knowledge of soil moisture status represents the key determinant.