2 - Survey of producers
The inaugural committee of the Cicerone Project commissioned a survey of livestock producers in the New England region to determine the research problems and production practices which were of greatest importance to graziers. In addition, an assessment was made of the level of interest livestock producers had in participating in a proposed producer-led research and adoption project. The survey was mailed to livestock producers in five districts across the New England region during October and November 1997. The survey results concerning land and pasture management issues suggested that a majority of livestock producers in the New England region found the challenges of dry seasons, fertiliser use, pasture composition and pasture persistence to be major problems. A further issue identified was the problem of resistance to drenches used for internal parasite control in sheep. It was clear that producers depend largely on pastures as the primary feed source due to the high cost of supplementary feed. There was considerable interest in learning how to fill gaps in the feed supply, and the management of the feed supply through droughts. Thus, one desired focus of future studies was to explore management systems that might improve the productivity, resilience, stability and longevity of pastures in the New England region. In addition, a focus on grazing management and its effects on pastures and on internal parasite control was suggested by survey respondents. Of the 316 responses to the survey, 76% expressed interest in becoming involved in the Cicerone Project, confirming the desirability of forming a producer-led research and adoption network within the New England region. One hundred and eighty-one respondents expressed an interest in becoming partner members, 100 respondents indicated they were interested in having their farm included in a network, while 139 people were interested in attending regional workshops where further details about the nature of the Cicerone Project would be developed. The survey was clearly of interest to commercial-scale livestock producers as the average size of respondents’ sheep flocks and cattle herds was over 5000 and 500, respectively. The results of this survey provided empirical evidence to support the formation of the Cicerone Project, which was created in 1998 following the approval of a business plan by the primary funding agency, the Woolmark Co.
Surveying the management practices and research needs of graziers in the New England region of New South Wales
Link to published Abstract and Full paper: Click here ...