Containment feeding adoption project

Vic Drought Hub - Farmland 1
  • Containment Feeding

This project will build a small cohort of containment feeding experts across 3 states to assist with implementation of containment feeding facilities.

Sheep stock containment

Uncertainty and lack of confidence in planning & implementing stock containment saw existing knowledge not used. This project’s integrated response addresses this identified gap, uniquely giving farmers confidence in “getting stock containment right”.

 

Key dates: start 1 September 2023, expected end date 30 April 2024

Vic Hub Project Partners: Southern Farming Systems (SW Node), Riverine Plains (NE Node), Birchip Cropping Group (NW Broadacre Node)

Other Partners: SA Drought Hub, Tas Farm Innovation Hub

 

Background

The Vic Hub has identified stock containment as a cornerstone to building drought resilience before, during and exiting drought; however, uptake is inconsistent across Australia, despite millions invested in RD&E to increase its adoption as a drought-management tool.

It was therefore fundamental to understand why uptake was inconsistent, otherwise future investment may either not address critical knowledge gaps, or fail completely, leaving farmers unable to capitalise on the full suite of benefits stock containment offers for building social, economic and environmental drought resilience.

The Containment Feeding Adoption Project builds on this project looking into stock containment that sought to understand those barriers farmers faced in adopting containment feeding.

In a nutshell: this project’s “why”

Coming strongly out of Hub consultation was farmers wanting help implementing stock containment “so they didn’t get it wrong”.

Unique points of this project

  • It’s not knowledge that’s missing, it’s engagement.
  • Farmers shared a lack of confidence in selecting elements of stock-containment design that suited their individual needs, and were hesitant to spend capital on semi-permanent/permanent infrastructure that may fail, or not completely suit, their individual needs.

…. this project addresses these points with both 1:1 planning & implementation, and training a cohort of skilled, competent advisors who can guide farmers in planning and implementing tailored stock containment.

  • The improved sheep ration-calculator created both simplifies and improves calculating exact feed requirements for different categories of the mob; pull-down selections also make the process faster.

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Project main focus

Upskilling a select group of advisors from 10 farming groups across 3 states to run introductory workshops and then provide one-to-one follow-up planning advice to farmers to help implement containment facilities. To support the advsiors a training manual and upgraded ration calculator have been created, along with an advisor-skills course.

Project activity

Training materials for advisors were developed by Deb Scammell (of Talking Livestock) in South Australia and presented at a 2-day training session in December 2023. An updated ration calculator is being developed by Cam Nicholson (Nicon Rural Services) for use by advisors.

Farmer workshops are being held in February 2024, with follow-up, one-to-one support in March and April 2024.

Project deliverables: results and impact

  • Training manual
  • Ration calculator (sheep only)
  • Advisor training workshop
  • Farmer workshops
  • 1:1 containment plans developed with farmers
  • A small cohort of skilled and confident advisors to use as a cohort to expand containment advice after June 2024