Our Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation (WOPR) is an incentive-based program that assists farmers to restore degraded or cleared land on their properties, increasing productivity, providing shade and shelter for cattle, and creating large areas of new habitat for native wildlife.
Through WOPR, farmers can volunteer to have a degraded or cleared paddock over 10ha of size restored through the planting of a broad range of native trees and shrubs in widely spaced belts across the land. To rest the paddock, sheep and cows are temporarily excluded for a period of 5 years. This means that little or no fencing is required, a major point of difference from other incentive programs. During this time the landholder receives a stewardship payment to compensate them for some of the loss of production they encounter while the trees and shrubs are growing. When the new vegetation is large enough to withstand intense browsing, livestock can be reintroduced to the new pasture and sustainably grazed.
To date, WOPR has engaged over 120 landholders to restore more than 140 sites across New South Wales and Western Australia, reinvigorating paddocks with significant benefits for farming production as well as the environment. Typical WOPR paddocks host between 20 to 30 different species of birds at any one time, many of which are small insectivorous species that perform important pest control services around the farm.
Many farmers are seeing the benefits, like Dave Hewlett in Yass, who has found that ewes with lambs now actively seek out the windbreaks, and the lambing percentage for twinning ewes has increased to more than 140% since WOPR.
“We are very happy with the results and we can see an improvement in the landscape as well as the bottom line.” – Tony and Jenny Magee, Rye Park
“The funding from Greening Australia didn’t cover the whole loss, but it went a long way towards it and we’re happy to put a bit in financially to make sure it’s a success, because we get a big farming advantage out of it.” –Chris and Margot Shannon
For more information about this project and whether funding is available for your area, please contact Graham Fifield on [email protected] or (02) 6253 3035
Graham has been delivering the WOPR project since its inception in 2008 after completing his research on sheep production in revegetated paddocks in 2006. Graham co-ordinates the on ground design and direct seeding components and uses this experience to improve WOPR methodologies and applications across diverse landscapes.