Beef grazing is largest agricultural land use by area in the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef and the greatest contributor of sediment to the Reef through erosion and runoff. A package of $1,870,000 was allocated across four projects that addressed the major issues in improving grazing practice: rehabilitating degraded grazing lands through mechanical techniques (RRRD024), understanding the relationship between management practices, improving ground cover and reducing sediment loads (RRRD032), developing better techniques for groundcover monitoring and mapping (RRRD027) and evaluating introduced pastures from a nutrient loading perspective (RRRD009). An associated package of research delivered improved understanding for tebuthiuron management in grazing lands (RRRD038).

Historic data on the water quality benefits of a range of grazing management practices was collated to inform ongoing modelling exercises (RRRD011) such as those under the Paddock to Reef program.

The findings from the above projects were supported by research on understanding the social and economic motivations for practice improvement in the grazing industry (RRRD039). The research built on the experiences of NRM groups and drew upon existing knowledge about water quality outcomes and sustainability aspects of management practices to inform the delivery of Reef Rescue Water Quality Grants and future incentive programs.

RRRD024: Quantifying the impacts of rehabilitating degraded lands on soil health, pastures, runoff, erosion, nutrient and sediment movement

RRRD032: Improving grazing management practices to enhance ground cover and reduce sediment loads

RRRD027: Getting ground cover right – thresholds and baselines for a healthier reef

RRRD009: Runoff Nitrogen generation rates from pasture legumes – an enhancement to reef catchment modelling

RRRD038: Pesticide dynamics in the Great Barrier Reef catchment and lagoon: management practices (grazing, bananas and grain crops) and risk assessments

RRRD011: Capturing historic small catchment study (paddock scale) data to support quantification of management impacts on water quality on the Great Barrier Reef

RRRD039: Integrated assessment of BMP cost-effectiveness and decision tool for regions and landholders