Over $23 million is being invested through the Future Drought Fund in 26 projects focusing on drought resilient land management practices that will help Australia’s farmers prepare for and recover quicker from drought.
The purpose of this program is to demonstrate practices at a broad scale that will make our agricultural land more resilient to future droughts.
The 26 projects were assessed through a competitive grant process that opened in late 2021.
|Funding recipient||Project||Funding (exc. GST)|
|Mingenew - Irwin Group (Inc)||
Making Every Drop Count - Below and Above Ground Targeted Soil Moisture Conservation from Paddock to Landscape
The project demonstrates a combination of practices to improve drought resilience of cropping and grazing lands. This involves maintaining permanent groundcover by managing pasture legume systems, sowing techniques, stubble height and other elements.
The project involves 20 paddock-scale farm case studies and 5-6 large-scale demonstration sites across the Irwin River Basin, spanning 607,100 ha. One or two farms will additionally showcase remediation techniques that have been used widely in other areas to address catchment scale drought resilience issues.
Knowledge generated through the project will be promoted widely through extensive networks across the Australian agricultural industry, including the Minigrew-Irwin Group’s 100 landholder members and social media networks.
The project is a collaboration that includes 12 Northern Agriculture Region producer groups, UWA BeefLinks, Northern Agricultural Catchment Council, WA DPIRD, NSW DPI, and the South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub
|Western Australian Agricultural Authority||
Revitalising the drought resilience of Western Australia’s Southern Rangelands
The project will implement and demonstrate mature drought resilience strategies and land management practices to pastoralists in WA’s Southern Rangelands, spanning 52.3 million ha. Using a livestock productivity framework, the practices focus on restoring natural capital, protecting the resource base and increasing profitability of livestock farming.
The project involves 10 demonstration sites, 13 case studies and 20 facilitated peer-to-peer learning, training, coaching and mentoring events.
The project uses a monitoring framework to evaluate outcomes of the trialled practices. The evaluation will provide case studies of economic benefits. The project aims to maximise scaling out of the demonstrated practices and driving systemic changes in pastoral industries.
|Territory Natural Resource Management Incorporated||
Rain Ready Rangelands - Implementing sustainable and productive land management practices to recover from past droughts and build resilience for future climate variability in the Northern Territory
The project will demonstrate the practical and proven drought resilient practices to improve natural capital, herd productivity, financial performance and social wellbeing across 2 million ha in 3 pastoral districts in the NT.
The project involves pastoralist peer-to-peer learning supported by long-term local grazing advisers and scientists. Impacts of the trialled practices will be measured and shared through 3 case studies and other communication channels, including paddock walks.
The project is supported by the Katherine Pastoral Industry Advisory Committee and the Northern WA/NT Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
|Charles Darwin University||
Scaling of proven landscape rehydration and sustainable management practices to restore natural functions in two central Australian rangeland catchments to trial, demonstrate and widely communicate to pastoral land holders in the NT and WA
The project will demonstrate a combination of drought resilient practices that include landscape rehydration and regenerative grazing management. These practices and strategies are based on tried and proven methods in NT and WA.
Four demonstration sites will be established on 4 creek catchments of around 1875 ha each. The catchments are located on 4 properties that span a total of around 1.16 million ha. The properties are located across 2 major regional water catchments in central Australia: the 2.25 million ha Ti Tree catchment and 4.05 million ha Lake Lewis catchment.
The project will communicate outcomes of these interventions and promote broad adoption across the rangelands of the NT and WA utilising the North WA/NT Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub and its nodes and member networks to connect with producers.
The project is a collaboration that includes The Mulloon Institute Ltd., Tierra Australia Pty Ltd., Top End Conservation Management, Territory NRM, the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods and the North Australian Fire Information Service.
|Southern Gulf NRM Ltd||
Demonstration of bare ground restoration in the Southern Gulf Region - Bring drought affected soils back to productivity, increased drought resilience and sustainability
This project will demonstrate techniques to restore bare ground and maintain permanent groundcover. This will support drought resilience by restoring and maintaining the grazing potential of land, including in times of drought.
The project involves 20 demonstration sites in 2 districts of North West Queensland, covering up to 4,000 ha.
The findings of the demonstrations, including cost effectiveness, soil carbon build up, grass recovery and productive capacity will be measured, with knowledge shared through field days and other channels. The practices demonstrated through the project may ultimately help inform adoption across the estimated 1.5 million ha of bare ground area in North West Queensland.
|Western Local Land Services||
Perennial pastures, resilient rangelands
The project will demonstrate practices that improve drought resilience by managing pasture diversity, with a focus on perennial species. These pasture management systems link directly to landscape stability, livestock productivity, profitability and enhanced drought resilience.
A Community of Practice will be established around a network of demonstration sites across 3 bioregions in the NSW rangelands to trial and monitor these practices.
Information collected in this project will contribute to comprehensive, regionally specific revegetation resources. Learnings will be collated and promoted through a series of case studies, fact sheets and communication materials that will be shared with producers across the broader Australian rangelands.
The project is a partnership between Western Local Land Services (WLLS), NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), and Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU).
|Resource Consulting Services Pty Ltd||
Scaling for impact in the Rangelands - a drought resilience extension program
The project aims to demonstrate drought resilient practices that improve grazing management and soil health in northern NSW and southern QLD rangelands. This includes using weather data and forecasts to tailor grazing pressure and stocking densities to maintain groundcover ahead of drought. This, combined with the use of the MaiaGrazing tool to monitor farm productivity and profitability in real time, will improve drought resilience by protecting soils from erosion and improving their ability to capture and store rainfall water.
Up to 38 graziers, each with an average 6000 ha landholding, will be provided with knowledge, tools and capacity to implement these practices. Extension experts, local NRM groups, the SQNNSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, researchers and local businesses will provide support to these graziers. By doing this, the project aims to promote change and drive adoption at scale.
Deliverables include 6-monthly field days and quarterly webinars and peer-to-peer learning events. The MaiaGrazing decision support and management tool will be introduced in these events.
|University of New England||
Drought Resilient Pasture Landscapes Scaled Through Communities of Practice
The project demonstrates and supports adoption of innovative drought resilient practices to manage groundcover, soils and water on farms across the 3.1 million ha Northern Tablelands of NSW.
This project will work with 10 groups of 10 farmers each, meeting 6 times a year, to promote adoption of these practices. The groups will be coached to do soil tests, learn feed budgets to set stocking rates and use the Ag360 tool to estimate pasture and livestock performance for up to 6 months in advance. This combination of practices will increase the farmers’ ability to manage productivity of their lands during and coming out of droughts.
The project supports the establishment of a Community of Practice that includes Regional Landcare Networks and Local Land Services. Impacts will be measured across at least 60,000 ha over 50 farms. The Community of Practice and linkages with the SQLD/NNSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, will extend this impact to well over 300,000 ha. Project communications will further target the NSW New England and North West regions and the QLD Granite Belt. This can potentially span 10.7M ha and approximately 8,500 businesses.
Improved drought resilience through the demonstration of practices that maximize rehydration of fragile grazing landscapes
This project will demonstrate drought resilient grazing practices that can rehydrate grazing landscapes and improve soils and water on farms in the Desert Uplands bioregion. The trialled practices will reduce runoff and increase infiltration of rainfall in grasslands. This supports drought resilience by enhancing total biomass, reducing erosion and contributing to increased productivity of grazing enterprises.
Five demonstration properties spanning an area of 250,000 ha will participate in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the trialled practices. Farmers will be supported by industry experts. Case studies will be developed, and a minimum of 5 field days and education events will be held to share the outcomes and benefits across network of at least 50 graziers.
Key partners in the project are the Tropical North Queensland Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (through the NQ Dry Tropics NRM body) and the Desert Uplands Build Up and Development Strategy Committee.
|The University of Queensland||
Improving the drought resilience of cropping soils by enabling the identification and successful management of soil constraints
This project will demonstrate and promote knowledge about practices that help restore soils and increase their water infiltration and storage. This improves drought resilience of cropping lands by making this water available and accessible to crops in times of drought, thus improving productivity and profitability.
The project will establish 20 demonstration sites across 10 Queensland LGAs. The project will involve helping farmers to identify soil structural constraints and implement appropriate management.
This will be done through a combination of approaches including 20 one-on-one meetings, 10 field days, and regionally tailored management toolboxes including factsheets, videos and other materials. These toolboxes will be further promoted through another 10 regional workshops.
This is a collaboration including Australian Organic Ltd, Grain Advisory Committee, Australian Organic Ltd. and Agforce Pty. Ltd.
|Healthy Land and Water Ltd||
Demonstrating and promoting best practices to build drought resilience in Southeast Queensland grazing landscapes
The project will trial, demonstrate, and showcase regenerative land management practices that improve drought resilience of grazing lands in SE QLD. These practices include rotational and rest-based grazing management, pasture cropping using multi-species crops, and landscape rehydration techniques.
The project involves promoting these practices to over 300 landholders through 30 demonstration sites, 10 workshops and field days and 10 case studies. Local and regional landholder networks will also be supported to adopt the trialled practices across the landscapes. This will drive practice change across South East Queensland.
The project will undertake comprehensive and scientifically robust assessments of improvements in natural capital and impacts on productivity on these sites. Trends of these improvements will be measured using established indicators and tools.
This is a collaboration including grazier and farmer networks, local Landcare, community and industry groups, QLD government partners and the Southern QLD/Northern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
|Holbrook Landcare Group||
Landcare-led landscape resilience – tools and data for restoration decisions
The project builds on Landcare’s successful grassroots change in landscapes management. It will demonstrate practices that enhance on-farm natural capital. These practices will underpin productivity and the drought resilience of farms in NSW.
The project involves 36 demonstration sites. Results will be shared through a series of field days and case studies. Outcomes will be communicated using various channels, including through resources like the South-West Slopes & Riverina Revegetation Guides.
A Community of Practice (CoP) that includes 91 Landcare and farming groups experienced in land restoration and revegetation will contribute to disseminating the trialled practices. The CoP will also support the transition to market-based revegetation instruments that in turn improve drought resilience.
Holbrook Landcare is part of the Farming Systems Group Alliance under the Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub with an extensive regional network.
|Charles Sturt University||
Saving Our Soils During Drought
This project demonstrates and educates farmers about the use of Stock Management Areas (SMA) as a drought resilience strategy. This practice aims to improve drought resilience by maintaining groundcover across rested paddocks, so recovery from drought is quicker.
The project is a partnership between farming system groups, NSW government (5 Local Land Services), universities and the Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
|Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation||
Improving sowing opportunities for increased farm resilience in a changing climate
The project demonstrates the impacts on drought resilience of practices involving early sowing and optimal soil water storage. The program spans regions in WA, VIC, SA and NSW.
The project involves working with 6 grower groups to trial the practices on multiple soil types. The project will also demonstrate how to optimally make harvest choices and account for weather conditions to maximise chances of success.
The 5 trials will be run concurrently across 4 states. Knowledge generated from the project will be communicated to growers across southern Australian cropping environments. This will be done through field days, crop walks, an interactive web app and other channels. The project will also use established grower networks to further share the results more broadly.
The project is a partnership between CSIRO and Central West Farming Systems (NSW), Birchip Cropping Group (VIC), Northern Sustainable Soils (SA), Mallee Sustainable Farming (VIC/SA), the Mingenew Irwin Group (WA) and the Facey Group (WA). Collectively, this group will cover an area of around 17.3 million ha and 1000 members. The South-West WA, SA and VIC Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs also support this project.
|Charles Sturt University||
Creating landscape-scale change through drought resilient pasture systems
The project will demonstrate modern pasture species combinations and management practices known to build drought resilience. These practices can potentially protect soils and support productivity during and following droughts across 82 percent of NSW land area.
The project involves up to 10 demonstration sites and 5 farmer reference groups across the mid to high-rainfall zones of central and southern NSW. Outcomes of the demonstrations will be upscaled to farm and landscape scales using advanced modelling, ensuring regional applicability.
The project is a partnership that includes Charles Sturt University, the Holbrook Landcare Group, Central West Farming Systems Inc., Riverine Plains Inc, Farmlink Research Ltd., Monaro Farming Systems CMC Inc. and the NSW DPI and Local Land Services. The project is supported by the Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
|Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation||
Drought resilient landscapes with profitable native shrub and legume systems across southern Australia
The project demonstrates the use of novel forage systems based on native shrubs and self-regenerating annual legumes to address feed gaps during drought. This will improve profitability and drought resilience of mixed farming and rangeland enterprises.
The project includes 4 demonstration sites in the mixed crop/livestock zones of WA and NSW and 2 sites in the rangelands of NSW. These sites represent a diverse range of agroecological zones within Australia’s 40 million ha production landscape.
Data collection, monitoring and reporting of outcomes from the trialled practices will contribute to broader adoption. Results will be communicated through 12 field days and other channels. Producer networks will also be used to support broader adoption.
The project is a collaboration that includes leading producer groups, nurseries and researchers. These include CSIRO, the NSW DPI, WA DPIRD, Grower Group Alliance and Facey, Central West Farming Systems and Fitzgerald Biosphere and the Rangelands Living Skin Producer Group.
|Riverina Local Land Services||
Paddock, Farm, Landscape - building our communities natural capital from the soil up
The project will demonstrate a combination of 3 drought resilient practices known to support productivity & profitability during and after droughts. This includes managing grazing pressure, improving farm dams and riparian areas and using native shelterbelts.
The project will establish 5 landholder groups of up to 15 members each in the main Riverina bioregions, extending from the rangelands in the west to the tablelands in the east. 3 demonstration sites will be established in each region. Existing decision-making tools will be utilised to support landholders to evaluate, adapt and monitor on-ground practices against drought resilience objectives.
The project involves 8 workshops, 1 case study and 2 field days in each region. Through these, producers will share their experiences through different communication channels and networks, including 5 field days that will showcase the demonstrated practices to promote adoption.
The project is a partnership between Riverina LLS, ANU Sustainable Farms and Soils for Life. It is also supported by the Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
|Charles Sturt University||
Improved drought resilience through optimal management of soils and available water
The project demonstrates practices from 3 farming system strategies that improve drought resilience. These non-conventional strategies include: 1. Diverse legume rotations (to increase organic carbon, nitrogen and other soil elements) 2. Early-sowing of slower-maturing crops (to increase water holding capacity) and 3. Measuring residual nitrogen (to prevent excess application, increasing profitability & decreasing runoff into waterways)
The project involves 12 demonstration sites with a broad range of soil types, environments and land uses across Southern NSW & North Eastern VIC. The sites span approximately 18 million hectares in NSW and VIC. Each demonstration site will hold 1 field day/year to showcase the demonstrated practices, reaching a network of around 3300 farmers.
Outcomes will be communicated using 12 case studies and a range of communication channels. These are expected to reach over 10,000 community and agribusiness professionals. The project will also share outcomes with Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs, universities, State and Federal governments, and other key influencers such as the NFF, RDCs, rural consultants and rural resellers.
The project is a collaboration between industry and research organisations, including GRDC, CSIRO, NSW DPI, Riverine Plains, FarmLink, Central West Farming Systems, Southern Growers & Charles Sturt University. It is also supported by the Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
|The University of Melbourne||
Scaling out of successful multi-species pasture management in rainfed dairy systems of southern Australia to increase drought resilience at landscape and catchment levels
The project will demonstrate the use of multi-species pastures to support permanent ground cover. This will enhance drought resilience and productivity by maintaining feed supply throughout the drought cycle. It will also build resilient soils and landscape function through permanent groundcover.
Demonstration sites will be established in 3 Victorian dairy regions across different climatic zones. The 3 regions include around 3000 farms that produce around 60% of Australia’s total dairy production.
Knowledge from the project will be communicated using established regional and dairy industry networks across Victoria. This will be complemented with field days, workshops and other channels.
This is a collaborative project that includes the University of Melbourne, Dairy Australia, Food and Fibre Gippsland, and the Glenelg Hopkins, West Gippsland and North East CMAs.
|Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.||
Building resilience to drought with landscape scale remediation of saline land
This project will demonstrate practices that prevent and remediate saline land degradation. Drought exacerbates saline land degradation. The practices to be demonstrated counter this, by reduce rates of evaporation and resulting salinity in dry lands and Mallee seeps.
The project includes 48 demonstration sites in low-rainfall broadacre mixed farming landscapes. It will work with at least 48 farmers across 10 million hectares of the low rainfall Eyre Peninsula, Upper Yorke Peninsula, Murray Plains, and the SA, VIC and NSW Mallee. A minimum of 2400 hectares of unproductive saline land will be improved.
20 case studies and a decision tree for managing dry saline land and seeps will be available for public access. Outcomes from the project will be shared through 20 field days and research updates.
The project is a collaboration that includes the University of Adelaide, Ag Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula, Northern Sustainable Soils Inc., Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board. It is also supported by the SA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
|The Trustee for Wetland Revival Trust||
Boosting drought resilience in the Lower Loddon Landscape- If you look after nature, nature can look after you
This project will trial and monitor the impact of landscape-scale drought resilient practices that restore and maintain natural capital on farms in the Lower Loddon River region. The practices build drought resilience by improving hydrology, increasing soil carbon and moisture holding capacity, and restoring native vegetation cover on farmlands.
The project will be run on 12 demonstration sites that include irrigated and dryland cropping, dairy and beef cattle, wool and lamb production enterprises. The sites span a total area of 13,421 ha, which include 160 ha of wetlands.
The outcomes of trialled practices will be shared and promoted through 12 case studies, and multiple communication channels.
The project is a partnership between farmers, a Landcare network, Traditional Owners, water management agencies, North Central CMA, and research groups.
|Mallee Catchment Management Authority||
Building drought resilience of vulnerable soils in low rainfall cropping and grazing systems
This project will demonstrate integrated groundcover management practices that improve vulnerable soils and build drought resilience in low-rainfall cropping and grazing landscapes in the Victorian Mallee.
The project aims at building the capacity of farmers in low-rainfall, high-risk and drought-prone landscapes to implement effective strategies for managing and recovering from drought. This involves a comprehensive evaluation and sharing of the impacts of these ‘fit for purpose’ practices on building drought resilience of natural capital, and increasing agricultural productivity and profitability.
The project will establish 6 demonstration sites. Results will be communicated through 16 site-based engagement and communications events, 10 digital products to facilitate adoption, and 13 case studies.
The project involves a partnership between MSF and the Birchip Cropping Group and Agriculture Victoria. The project has the support of the VIC Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
|Fruit Growers Victoria Ltd||
Which grass is greener - how planting vegetation between rows improves drought resilience in orchards
This project will demonstrate the effectiveness of inter-row vegetation and healthy soils in improving drought resilience of irrigated horticulture lands.
Three demonstration sites will be established in 3 regions in Victoria that have similar farming techniques but different landscapes, soils and amount of rainfall. These regions are the Goulburn Valley, Murray Valley and the Yarra Valley areas.
Three distinct types of vegetation will be grown at each of 3 sites to show the properties and benefits of each on drought resilience.
An additional site in the Shepparton area will be used to comparatively demonstrate how different water availability will affect ground cover growth and fruit production.
The project will collaborate with the University of Melbourne to monitor and share improvements in soil condition and fruit production on the demonstration sites. Regular field demonstrations and reports from each site will be shared with the industry to increase adoption of the trialled practices. The Victorian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub supports the project.
|South Australian Arid Lands Landscape Board||
From the Ground Up. Supporting Regenerative Grazing Practices in South Australia's Rangelands to build drought resilience
The project will demonstrate grazing management practices based on resting paddocks to allow the recovery of perennial species. This will build drought resilience by enabling more consistent livestock production during and following extended droughts in the pastoral zones of South Australia’s rangelands.
The project involves 5 demonstration sites. The sites, and project activities, have the potential to support adoption of drought resilient grazing practices across the 4.3 million ha Southern Rangelands of Australia.
The project will engage with grazing managers to develop knowledge and skills in drought resilient grazing management practices. This includes peer-to-peer learning and 11 on-farm courses provided by 25 industry leaders and innovators across the southern Rangelands.
This is a collaborative project involving multiple agencies and research institutions that include the SA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, University of Adelaide, Meat and Livestock Australia and South Australian Research and Development Institute.
|Agricultural Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula Incorporated||
Building drought resilience by scaling out farming practices that will enhance the productive capacity of sandy soil landscapes
This project will work with 16 farmers to demonstrate practices that enhance the drought resilience and productive capacity of around 3 million hectares of sandy soils in the low-medium rainfall landscapes of southeast Australia. Improving sandy soils has been identified as a key drought resilience strategy by the SA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
The project includes 16 demonstration sites and 16 case studies to trial various soil management options and build farmers’ confidence in those practices across the Eyre Peninsula, Upper Yorke Peninsula, Mallee & Southeast regions. This will contribute to the approach towards building drought resilience by.
Knowledge generated will be directly shared with 400 farmers through 17 workshops and other communication channels. The project will also use existing networks to disseminate information from the project to a further 3000 farmers, to help drive adoption of the trialled practices.
The project is a collaboration including Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc., Northern Sustainable Soils Inc., and MacKillop Farm Management Group Inc.
|The University of Adelaide||
Promoting best-practice feedbase management to deliver improved drought resilience in low to medium rainfall regions through on-farm demonstrations and case studies
The project will demonstrate drought resilient groundcover management practices that aim at extending pasture growing season to protect soils in drought. This involves the use of better-adapted species and innovative technologies in pasture establishment and management.
The project will establish 18 core demonstration sites in the Mallee, upper and mid Eyre Peninsula, and the mid-north of SA. The project spans 1.61 million ha of low to medium rainfall grazing systems in these areas, supporting the production of around 4.9 million sheep.
The trialled practices will be monitored to quantify the environmental and economic drought resilience benefits at farm and landscape scales.
The project involves a partnership, through the SA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, between farming systems groups, NRM bodies and experts.
Find details of the payment information for the Drought Resilience Soils and Landscapes Grant program, as required under the Future Drought Fund Act 2019 below.
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Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, May 2021
DownloadsDrought Resilient Soils and Landscapes Program (PDF 363 KB)
Drought Resilient Soils and Landscapes Program (DOCX 850 KB)
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