Mowanjum Field Day Hailed a Successful Industry Event
About 100 people, including pastoralists, Shire and industry representatives, and members of the Mowanjum community, braved the heat on the pivot at Mowanjum Station on 23 October 2017 for an industry field day. The field day was a significant milestone in the Mowanjum Irrigation Trial as it draws towards its conclusion in December 2017.
Hosted by Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation in partnership with the Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association, the field day focused on delivering industry outcomes by show casing lessons learnt, both positive and negative, from the irrigation trial over the past two years. Presentations and information stands on the topics of site selection and project approvals, system and infrastructure design, fertigation and irrigation scheduling and management, grazing and cattle management, and the economics of ‘stand and graze’ enabled attendees to discuss and gain additional knowledge on a broad range of aspects relevant to establishing and operating a ‘stand and graze’ pivot irrigation system.
Specialist and technical staff from both government and the private sector who have been involved in the trial were on hand to lead the discussions on each topic. Technical staff from the Department’s irrigated agriculture and northern beef development teams presented on outcomes of a range of projects with information relevant to stand and graze operations including cattle nutrition and management, alternative pasture options and irrigation and fertigation scheduling. Complementary take-home factsheets were also provided and these are available on the Water for Food and Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association (KPCA) websites.
The approach to the field day and the information presented were well received with feedback from attendees welcoming the interactive, engaging and informative format.
Rob Cossart, Water for Food Operation Manager North, said “Mowanjum’s partnerships with Pardoo Beef Corporation and the Cattleman’s Association were critical to the success of the field day. Hosting the field day in the lead up to the KPCA Annual General Meeting enabled people traveling through from the Pilbara and west Kimberley to Kununurra to attend. A lot of people who attended the field day were not previously aware of the trial and what has been achieved and the feedback on the outcomes and information presented was really positive. The field day was also an opportunity to showcase knowledge, skills and capacity across the Department and northern team.”
Catherine Marriott, CEO of the KPCA said “the field day was a great opportunity to showcase the collaboration and partnerships that exist across the industry and the opportunities to learn from each other in the research and development space. Mowanjum’s partnerships with Pardoo Beef Corporation, Giovi Agriculture, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and CSIRO have provided a solid foundation to the irrigation trial and broader outcomes for industry”.
Steve Austin, CEO Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation, said “it was great to see the diversity of people who attended the field day with growers from the Ord, industry reps from the East coast and across the state and the local pastoral community attending. We wanted the field day to highlight what we have achieved on the station, what the project has meant to the community and the feedback we had from people who were a little sceptical of the project before attending was really positive. It was also an opportunity to thank our project partners for all their efforts over the past two years.”
The delivery of the final ‘stand and graze’ industry report will be completed early in the new year.
The Mowanjum Irrigation trial commenced in July 2014 and has been the flagship project of the $40 million Water for Food program in the North. The project has focused on supporting the Mowanjum community to deliver and manage their own outcomes, empowering the community to drive the social change it wants to see, now and in the future, and capitalising and building on local skills and leadership. The trial has provided both direct and indirect work opportunities for local residents, as well as relevant training, which gives meaningful opportunities for continued work in the pastoral and irrigation industries.
In 2016, the Mowanjum Irrigation Trial was recognised for excellence in the 2016 Premier’s Awards.