CSA00045 - Linking crop protection, weeds and native vegetation management: On-the-ground NRM action to benefit grain growers

Project Summary

Project Start Date
30 June 2014
Project End Date
30 June 2017
Supervisor Name
Nancy Schellhorn
Organisation
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Summary

This project focuses on linking NRM and production messages to achieve on-the-ground action about the management of weeds and native vegetation to achieve pest suppression. The findings from the GRDC National Pest Suppressive Landscapes project, CSE00051, showed that to reduce invertebrate pest problems in grain we need to:

  1. Think beyond the crop to the benefits of landscape features for reducing pests and supporting beneficials;
  2. Manage weeds in non-crop habitat to achieve pest suppression in nearby grain crops; and
  3. Revegetate with native plants to support beneficials throughout the year.

To move towards pest suppressive landscapes we must consider several actions around the management of weeds (e.g. weedy pastures, roadsides and native remnant habitat), and maintenance and planting of native vegetation. The outcome of these actions may benefit both the objectives of regional NRM and grower groups. However, identifying the opportunities to achieving on-the-ground action that will benefit both groups can be challenging. To overcome these challenges we propose to build partnerships with NRM and grower groups to communicate multi-output messages from GRDC research into NRM practices. Specifically we aim to:

  1. Engage NRM and grower group to identify vegetation management objectives, and identify management actions in real landscapes,
  2. Communicate key messages to NRM and grower groups on sustainable management practices (generated from GRDC projects) on vegetation management to benefit grain growers and achieve NRM objectives,
  3. Conduct an economic assessment of vegetation management actions, and present the findings for discussion to NRM and grower groups,
  4. Support two regional NRM groups to develop proposals for targeted on-the-ground management action mini-trials for vegetation management and invertebrate monitoring,
  5. Together as a collaborative team (e.g. regional NRM, grower group, research provider) propose a new project on direct vegetation management action, which will also include invertebrate monitoring and evaluation in the two regions.

The outcomes from this work include: clear identification of opportunities to achieve common goals of NRM and grower groups around vegetation management; increased awareness of the role of weeds in increasing invertebrate pest problems, and increased awareness of the role of native vegetation for supporting beneficials that attack invertebrate pests; an awareness of the potential costs and benefits of weed control and the establishment of shelter belts; identification of locations for targeted action for controlling weeds and establishing shelter belts; funding proposal developed to achieve integrated vegetation management and production goals.

The outputs from this work include: production and profit messages from GRDC projects collated for sustainable management practices including economic assessments for target crops and pests; regional NRM staff with skills to deliver integrated production and profit messages alongside natural resource activities to grain growers with measurable on ground interaction with growers and their advisors; the impact of well-managed good-condition native vegetation remnants and shelter belts relative to paddock layout and size clearly articulated to growers; opportunities for leveraging funding by way of submission to grant programs for on-the-ground vegetation management actions on grain farms identified with regional NRM groups.

Published Date
24 November 2015
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