$4 million for high-tech herd management project

Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Minister for Agriculture

Revolutionary large-scale herd management techniques to safeguard Australia’s Top End from the scourge of feral buffalo will be developed by the CSIRO thanks to a $4 million grant.

Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said the project’s aim was to protect the outstanding natural and cultural values of Australia’s vast north.

“This trailblazing work will incorporate high-tech satellite imagery and innovative data planning tools with best-practice mustering and handling training,” Minister McKenzie said.

“What’s especially exciting about this project is the potential for it to strengthen our national biosecurity efforts.

“Pest animals, such as feral buffalo, are susceptible and can carry many of the devastating livestock diseases not present in Australia such as foot-and-mouth disease that could cost our farmers and communities $50 billion over 10 years.

“They can also have serious impact on Australian agriculture and iconic environment by overgrazing and trampling pasture and native vegetation.”

Senator McMahon said with adult buffalo weighing as much as 1200kg and an estimated 100,000 in Arnhem Land alone improving management techniques was essential to safeguard the environment and the productive capacity of the Territory.

“There’s also great potential to build capacity in Indigenous rangers, even creating business opportunities for Indigenous communities while addressing buffalo and feral cattle management issues,” Senator McMahon said.

“This project addresses a significant long term environmental degradation issue in the Top End where previous solutions have failed or been limited in their effect.

“Our government is ready to help agriculture become a $100 billion industry by 2030 and we’ll do that in part through investing in innovative projects like this,” Senator McMahon said.

The $4 million grant represents an Australian Government investment under the $57.5 million Smart Farming Partnerships program.

For more details about Smart Farming Partnerships visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/natural-resources/landcare/national-landcare-program/australian-government-investment-in-landcare.

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