Smart Farming Partnerships delivers innovation in Landcare
Innovation is key to the future efficacy of Landcare.
Acknowledging that farmers, fishers and foresters are vital to the protection and conservation of Australia’s natural resources while productively using them, the Australian Government supports the Landcare movement and community land carers through the National Landcare Program. Within this program, Smart Farms supports Landcare innovation in sustainable agriculture. One Smart Farms component, Smart Farming Partnerships supports medium to large scale projects that focus on innovation.
Projects are delivered in partnership with industry, communities and other governments. These partnerships trial and develop innovative tools and farm practices that will reduce the pressure on Australia’s natural resources while increasing industry productivity and profitability. Projects also encourage the uptake of these innovative best practices, tools and technologies by farmers, fishers, foresters and regional communities which creates an on-going legacy for land carers after the project has ended.
In round one of the program there were 15 successful Smart Farming Partnerships announced. They address a range of themes, including farming systems and aquaculture, soils, climate and markets.
Below are some examples of these projects:
- E-beef Smart Farming in Northern Queensland is establishing on-ground, regionally relevant smart farms to demonstrate the use of innovative practices and technology to improve landholders understanding of the links between soil, groundcover, production and economic returns.
- Next Generation Forecasting is developing, trailing and implementing a new and innovative, dynamic weather forecasting platform that combines data gathered from existing local monitoring networks with proven predictive modelling systems.
- Soil Tech Projects is translating peer reviewed soil science into digital soil management tools and a new soil management system for land managers, using a novel collaborative innovation model.
- Sustainable Dairy Products is building the capacity of Australian dairy farmers to demonstrate the sustainability of their operations and traceability of their products while also improving their management of natural capital and climate risk.
- Warm and Cool Season Mixed Cover Cropping for Sustainable Farming Systems in South Eastern Australia is demonstrating the use of mixed species cover crops across south eastern Australia to improve soil organic carbon, structure and health, while decreasing weed and disease in commercial crops.
- The Sustainable Sugar Project combines the use of the Smartcane Best Management Practice system and blockchain technology to demonstrate the provenance of Australian grown sugar.
- Saline Bush Tucker is developing a commercial bush food production system that engages with the indigenous, commercial and not-for-profit sectors, while directly improving management of degraded land, water and vegetation.
- The Tasmanian Smart Seafood partnership is increasing marine biodiversity in Tasmanian multi-use waterways by building upon established partnerships within the Tasmanian seafood industry.
These Smart Farming Partnerships projects allow new ideas to be developed, tested and shared across farms, industries and regions, to the benefit of the Australian landscape, community and economy. Anyone involved in Landcare can expect to see the results of these exciting innovative projects flow through over the coming years creating the all-important project legacy. Further, to find out more about the location of projects and what they set out to achieve refer to agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/natural-resources/landcare/national-landcare-program/australian-government-investment-in-landcare#round-1.
In addition to these first round innovative projects, a second round of the program is expected during the first half of 2019. Anyone with a good innovative Landcare idea can get involved, so now is the time to consider sharing ideas with suitably skilled organisations.