Through the Reef Trust Phase Three Investment Programme(RTP3), the Australian Government has appointed RCS to deliver Project Pioneer – Innovation in Grazing Management, a three-year project (2016-2019) which will support graziers to innovate land management practices and decrease sediment run-off across high priority grazing lands within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments.

Project Pioneer is enabling 50 grazing businesses within the Burnett Mary, Fitzroy, Burdekin and Cape York catchments to reduce erosion and increase the quality of the water entering the GBR, thus improving the health and longevity of the reef. Through adoption of regenerative management practices, participants will also realise improved production and profitability of their land.

Aims of Project Pioneer

Project Pioneer will contribute to the delivery of the RTP3 outcomes, which are:

  • A five percent (191,000 tonne) reduction in reef-wide annual anthropogenic sediment load derived from grazing land; and
  • Demonstration of innovative industry engagement and on-ground activities.

Project specific outcomes are:

  • By 2018, 50 graziers will be participating in Project Pioneer with a total estimated land area of 625,000 hectares within the GBR catchment;
  • By 2018, at least 80% (by area) of participating properties will be at 65% ground cover with management arrangements in place consistent with achieving A-class land condition;
  • By 2018, 100% of properties have excluded stock from areas prone to erosion, or have management arrangements consistent with achieving A-class land condition; and
  • By 2018, properties will generate a 2.5% increase in return on assets.

How will these outcomes be achieved?

Taking a whole-business approach, RCS are working with participants to achieve ecological and economic outcomes. Each participating business receives training, business development advice, benchmarking and on-farm support through the RCS Rural Profit System and, through Project Pioneer partners, have access to innovative new management tools such as autonomous livestock management systems and digital grazing management and decision-making tools.

Project Partners

Resource Consulting Services (RCS) – RCS is responsible for overall project delivery, community engagement, recruitment of project participants, providing foundational skills development, supporting participants through practice change with on-farm professional advice, monitoring key indicators, and project reporting.

Central Queensland University (CQUniversity) – CQUniversity will be responsible for surveying participants to gain a better understanding of the social and behavioural drivers and impediments to the adoption of improved land management practices in the industry. CQUniversity’s Precision Livestock Management Team will provide access to and training in new and existing technologies, including an end-to-end autonomous livestock management system.

FarmMap4D (formally NRM Spatial Hub) – FarmMap4D spatial imagery and mapping will be used to monitor effects of management practices and to measure and analyse ground cover and pasture.

Maia Technology – Maia Technology, through MaiaGrazing, provide the innovative livestock and grazing management tool for monitoring and planning on-farm stocking rate and carrying capacity.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – WWF will support the delivery of project promotion to beef supply chain and service providers and link the project to national and international initiatives.