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Supporting a step change in on-farm practice through farmer-led innovation

There is increasing evidence that high input costs and increasing climate variability are putting strain on farming systems. The aim of the ‘Paddock labs’ project is to increase landscape and farmer resilience to drought in cropping, livestock and mixed systems by:

  1. Exploring innovative practices that could reduce input costs, improve natural capital function and resilience and increase farm profitability;
  2. Building capability for innovation and adaptiveness amongst participating producers
  3. Creating and strengthening producer networks to increase knowledge sharing, build confidence and support ongoing practice change
  4. Developing a replicable approach to extend to other regions in Australia.

This project is funded by the Australian Governments Future Drought Fund with a focus on increasing drought resilience. Developed by Soils For Life in partnership with regional stakeholders, the project will work with facilitators and farmer groups in the Northern & Yorke and Eyre Peninsula districts of South Australia. The project will use an innovative citizen-science model, supporting farmers to take a central role throughout the process.

The project will run from July 2021 to June 2022 and involve four stages:

  • Establishment: Groups comprising 25 farmers and advisers will be established in each region.
  • Prioritisation: Each group will work together to determine priority issues and needs, and identify priority practices to explore. Based on this, each groups will select one Focus Field site and up to 10 Farm Validation sites.
  • Baselining: Soil and biomass baseline data will be collected for all Focus and Farm Validation sites.
  • Exploration: Producers will be supported to accessing technical support to adapt, test and validate these practices.

Throughout the process, we will collect data and document the experiences and perceptions of participants. These will be shared through multiple communications channels, including via partner groups’ extensive networks and linkages with other projects in the regions.

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Project partners:

Expressions of Interest

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