Short Virtual Presentation & Digital Poster 10th Australian Stream Management Conference 2021

Beyond the Shed: poultry, poo and pasture (#55)

Andrew Morris 1 , Albert Mullen 2
  1. Midcoast Council, Forster, NSW, Australia
  2. Hunter Local Land Services, Taree, NSW, Australia


There are over 30 intensive poultry farms within the Karuah River catchment which flows into Port Stephens Marine Park. These farms are a crucial part of the local economy and poultry litter as fertiliser has played a significant role in the growth and maintenance of local grazing and dairy industries. Most poultry farms have established grazing enterprises due to a general need for land buffers around poultry sheds as well as ready access to cheap fertiliser. MidCoast Council and Local Land Services have partnered to focus on the areas beyond the shed and help poultry farmers understand what’s happening in their paddocks to improve nutrient management and reduce impacts on the river.


200 soil tests have been undertaken on 23 participating farms to identify nutrients lacking or in surplus in their soils.  Through one-on-one advice most farms found their paddocks were highly productive, without the need for more nutrients in the form of chicken litter. Funding for onground works has also been provided to each participating farm.


Farmers are now selling most of their litter off-farm to other areas low in nutrients. Farms involved have implemented strategies such as rotational grazing, waterway fencing, off-stream watering, alternate fertiliser applications to meet nutrient deficits and reduction of runoff.


This project is giving farmers the opportunity to understand, and take control of nutrient management on their farm to improve their grazing business and reduce impacts on the river.  There is great opportunity to expand this program other regions or intensive farming industries.

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