This is sponsored content for Gallagher Australia
Nesting used to be a precarious business at the rookery of one of the world's smallest penguins on the wind-swept west coast of Tasmania's rugged King Island.
The Cataraqui Point Little Penguin rookery happens to be located alongside the Cataraqui Angus beef farm. It meant the penguins' delicate burrows were under constant threat of being accidentally trampled by the grazing cattle.
But today the penguins are nesting care free, with an electric fence protecting the burrows and the penguins from wayward bovines, allowing the animals to happily exist side by side.
Almost two kilometres of fencing on owner Andrew James' property now separates the private grazing land from the Cataraqui Point Conservation Area on the land's coastal edge.
This harmonious blending of farming and conservation is the result of a successful and growing partnership between Landcare and the Australian arm of leading agricultural technology company Gallagher.
Gallagher, the 81-year-old company whose founder Bill Gallagher invented the electric fence in the 1930s in New Zealand, began working with Landcare last year as part of its 'Fencing for the Future' pilot sponsorship program. The company has already supported a range of projects identified by the army of Landcare groups and Gallagher Territory Managers around Australia.
The partnership has now been expanded with the launch of a grants program to fund projects that align with its goals of improving grazing management and/or conservation.
The deadline for the first year of the Gallagher Landcare Fencing Grants program is May 31. Recipients will receive up to $8000 including fencing materials for projects that will deliver environmental or sustainable agriculture outcomes.
As well as Landcare, Coastcare and Junior Landcare groups, the grants are open to individual landholders, farmers and graziers and volunteer-based community groups.
Eligible projects need to fit with one or both of the priority areas:
- Grazing management: Electric fencing for pasture management techniques using permanent or portable systems to subdivide paddocks for more effective grazing, maintaining groundcover and keeping pasture fresh, high energy and palatable.
- Conservation fencing: Installing conservation fencing to help exclude threats to valuable native plants or animals, such as trampling by herbivores (including stock, rabbits, deer or kangaroos) and preventing damage from people.
Common sustainability goals unite
The kinds of projects Gallagher has already joined forces with Landcare, farmers and community groups on are diverse.
In Bendigo in Victoria, it's endangered Bush Stone-curlews that are being protected in one of the sponsored projects completed in partnership with the Mid-Lodden Landcare Network.
The first of a juvenile flock of the bird species that had been bred in captivity was to be released into a protected habitat site on the property of farmers Geoff and Noreen Gill where they could adapt to their freedom.
But there were concerns that the birds could still be vulnerable to foxes who could dig under the traditional exclusion fence in existence so Gallagher helped install electric fencing to discourage the predators.
Meanwhile, in Queensland, Gallagher is working with the Kilcoy Valley Landcare Group to protect new plantings of a native vine that is the preferred habitat for the vulnerable Richmond Birdwing Butterfly.
The endangered Birdwing Butterfly vine is being established at strategic locations within the Stanley River catchment area to provide the habitat and food for the butterfly to expand its range.
The plant and the butterfly - Australia's largest subtropical butterfly - were once abundant in the area but their presence has dwindled as a result of pressure from land clearing and grazing.
The project is using insulated line posts and a Portable Solar Energizer to exclude cattle from the vine regeneration areas.
Landcare Australia chief executive officer Shane Norrish said the grants program would help fund similar valuable initiatives nationally.
"By funding these grants Gallagher is extending its partnership with Landcare Australia and providing much needed financial support to conservation fencing and grazing management projects," Mr Norrish said.
Gallagher Australia marketing manager Ben Winter said the program was a "natural fit" with Gallagher's commitment to local communities, grazing management, conservation and feral fencing.
"We're always out in the field talking to farmers to find solutions to problems they have or outcomes they want to achieve, and we're looking forward to seeing what projects we can support with this program," Mr Winter said.
To find out more about the Gallagher Landcare Fencing Grants and how to apply head to the Landcare website.
This is sponsored content for Gallagher Australia.