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Drought Resilience

Building drought resilience of vulnerable soils in low rainfall cropping and grazing systems

The Victorian Mallee region presents several challenges for dryland farming communities, particularly during times of drought and periods of acute rainfall deficiency, where insufficient groundcover often results in severe wind-driven erosion events impacting soil health, crop potential, native vegetation, and the broader region through extensive dust storms.

Future Drought Fund: Drought Resilient Soils and Landscapes Grants Program

The Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund (FDF) provides funding for drought resilience initiatives which support the agriculture sector to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Building drought resilience supports Australian farmers, communities, and landscapes to become more sustainable and thrive in a changing climate.

The objective of the Drought Resilient Soils and Landscapes Grants Program (DRSL) is to trial and demonstrate how scaling of particular practices (or combinations of practices) can improve management of natural capital and build drought resilience.

The program aims to measure, record and communicate outcomes from individual case study projects to inspire and inform others, supporting widespread transformational changes in land management across Australia.

Building drought resilience of vulnerable soils in low rainfall cropping and grazing systems

This two year project (2022-2024) was developed to support dryland farmers in low rainfall and high wind erosion risk landscapes, demonstrating how the integration of locally validated best practices to support groundcover persistence will improve the management of vulnerable soils and build drought resilience.

This project brings together established regional partnerships, including:

  • Mallee Catchment Management Authority (Mallee CMA)
  • Birchip Cropping Group
  • Mallee Sustainable Farming
  • Agriculture Victoria

Delivery focused on landscapes within the Victorian Mallee that demonstrate high wind erosion risk (i.e. combination of inherently susceptible soils and historically low ground cover) to support long-term practice change and reduce future risk in those areas most likely to be impacted (economically and environmentally) by drought.

In the first half of 2023, sites were established in different regions across the Victorian Mallee to trial and demonstrate the effective integration of best practices strategies that increase productivity while stabilising vulnerable soils through improved groundcover.

Targeted engagement and capacity building activities were delivered to support farmers to improve their current cropping/grazing strategies and move towards a system that will continue to be productive and profitable even through highly variable climatic conditions. 

 

Case Studies

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PO Box 5017 Mildura Victoria 3502 P 03 5001 8600 M 0428 516 233

Acknowledgements

This project received funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund