The Better Beef for the Reef project was funded through the Queensland Governments Reef Water Quality Program and has been delivered by the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG).
Better Beef for the Reef was a pilot extension project that aimed to accelerate the adoption rate of improved grazing land management practices and contribute to reducing sediment runoff to the Great Barrier Reef. In addition to improving on-ground outcomes, identifying barriers and motivations for practice adoption and engagement was a key objective of Better Beef for the Reef. The Stakeholder Targeted Engagement Process (STEP) methodology was tested.
The project specifically targeted graziers in the priority area who were previously ‘unengaged’. You can download the map of the Better Beef for the Reef priority area here. Participating graziers were provided with a suite of one-on-one extension and support opportunities to assist them in benchmarking their current management practices and developing plans to improve their farms’ productivity, profitability and sustainability.
The 3-year project, concluding in August 2020, engaged 45 ‘unengaged’ graziers that implemented 17 practice changes measured under the Paddock to Reef Program. Training events, totalling 7, attracted 150 participants. The project also funded 5 demonstration sites that remediated gully erosion sites on several properties as well as water infrastructure and sub divisional fencing. Overall an 85% improvement in knowledge and skills was reported from the ‘now engaged’ graziers because of the one-one extension delivered through Better Beef for the Reef.
A Final Review of Extension was conducted independently by Dr Dana Kelly. Key challenges, successes and learnings from the Better Beef for the Reef project were evaluated and outlined in the review. A copy of the review, and a summary can be downloaded below:
A journal article, ‘Developing a Methodology to Engage the Unengaged to improve Sustainable Land Management’ has written and accepted by the Joint XXIV International Grassland Congress (IGC) and International Rangeland Congress (IRC). A copy can be downloaded here.
A special thank you to all of the landholders the Burnett-Mary region who gave their time and participated in this project. Some of the most important learnings of this project have come from these landholders. Their passion and dedication to the cattle industry is to be admired, particularly during some of the driest years on record.
Grazing Extension Officer and Paddock to Reef Regional Coordinator