Farming on the margins

Supporting farmers to build drought resilience and increase whole farm productivity

With hotter and drier conditions expected, farmers will need the skills, knowledge, and capacity to adapt their farming practices to mitigate climate related pressures and better manage future drought risks. Farming on marginal land with practices that are unsuitable for drought resilience means that this landscape will continue to be degraded. Eventually the cost of remedial action will outweigh the productive capacity of the land and it has the potential to develop long term land management problems such as salinity, soil erosion, weed infestation or pest animal issues. 

The project will introduce farmers in the Werribee and Maribyrnong catchments, farming on marginal, drought-prone land, to the benefits of integrating native forage shrubs to build their farms resilience to frequent dry conditions. Native forage shrubs can help fill seasonal feed gaps and allow deferred grazing of annual pastures and cereals in times of climate uncertainty. The shrubs can support both livestock and natural resource management gains across the whole farm system by protecting and sheltering soils, crops, pastures, and livestock, and providing habitat for birds, reptiles, and insects.

Through this project, six native fodder demonstration sites will be established, and to compliment the demonstration sites, workshops will be held to promote decision making tools which helps farmers with sound decision making during times of stress.

Themes and Local Areas

Primary Theme:Sustainable agriculture
Other Themes:Climate change, Land use
Primary Local Area:Moorabool, Melton, Wyndham & Greater Geelong
Other Local Areas:Macedon Ranges, Hume, Mitchell & Whittlesea
Project location:This project will work with farmers across the Werribee and Maribyrnong catchments
Scale of the project:Information
New or continuing work:Continuing/building on previous work

Project partners

Lead organisation:Melbourne Water
Key partners:Moorabool Shire Council, Hume City Council, Macedon Ranges Shire Council
Registered Aboriginal Party/s relevant to the project or its area:Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

Investment opportunities

Opportunities for investors within this project start from:$$$ (Hundreds of thousands of dollars)
Estimated scale of investment for full project implementation:$$$ (Hundreds of thousands of dollars)
Estimated timeframe for full project implementation:1-2 years

Contribution toward targets

Primary Regional Catchment Strategy target:Green Wedges and high value agricultural land of this region are retained for agricultural use and are supporting diverse and profitable agricultural enterprises
Relevant Biodiversity 2037 goal:
Relevant National Landcare Program priority:Agriculture systems – Projects that support industries, farmers and fishers to adopt new management practices that help them to adjust to weather and/or climate variability

More information