Three-year $690,000 project to improve pasture management announced

Tasmania’s red meat production will improve under a new three-year project launched at Powranna on Thursday.

The $690,000 Pastures and Livestock Productivity Project will tap into farmer knowledge, through the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, to develop a program to improve pasture management.

It follows three phases: social research, development of an extension model and delivery of the extension model.

With red meat accounting for one fifth of Tasmania’s agricultural production, this industry is a critical component for the sector’s growth, Primary Industries minister Jeremy Rockliff said.

“Of our agricultural production red meat is some 20 per cent, so it’s very important to agriculture overall and we can improve on that in terms of our red meat productivity,” Mr Rocklifff said.

“This project is all about working collaboratively with industry, TIA and our producers to improve our pastures and manage those pastures so we can achieve those very real, but ambitious, targets into the future,” he said.

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture researcher Dr Beth Penrose said understanding the drivers behind pasture management would help boost productivity.

“Over 69 per cent of agricultural land is Tasmania is pasture and there’s a massive opportunity to increase production here, both by growing more pasture but also by utilising that pasture better,” Dr Penrose said.

Association chief executive Peter Skillern said the project should increase the state’s carrying capacity.

“As result of that there will be major economic flow on, particularly around making sure processors have more stock to put through, and that feeds into regional jobs and continuity of jobs in various regional economies,” Mr Skillern said.

“There is such a capacity to increase our production and carrying capacity, so stakeholder engagement is a critical element of this whole exercise,” he said.

The state government and Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture contributed $490,000 to the project, with the federal government providing $200,000.