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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Horses for (sustainable) courses and more

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Melanie Moss will use her grant through the Innovative Solutions Grant Fund to establish a hardstand area with shelter, fencing and drainage works, designed to protect the land and the health of her horses. Photo supplied.

In a win for horses and the environment, grant funding has been made available for Melanie Moss’s solution to the Tweed’s sustainability challenges.

A clever horse management system designed to increase horse wellbeing while reducing impacts on the environment is the first project to receive funding through Council’s new Innovative Solutions Grant Fund.

The Innovative Solutions Grant Fund encourages and support individuals, organisations and community groups to develop new, creative and innovative solutions to a range of current sustainability challenges facing the Tweed.

Melanie Moss from Stokers Siding received grant funding to adopt the ‘Equicentral System’, which links paddocks to a communal surfaced yard area. The project involves establishing a hardstand area with shelter, fencing and drainage works.

‘My property plan is to implement a system of sustainable equine management with good land management practice,’ said Ms Moss. ‘This will not only have a positive impact on my horses’ wellbeing, but also on the health and productivity of the land.

‘By changing the traditional way of keeping horses separately in large, singular paddocks, I am aiming to run all my horses together and implement a hardstand or “loafing” area for the horses to congregate, with access to each paddock on a rotational basis.’

The advantages of the system include: horses can be enclosed in the shelter during large rain events, protecting the land and the health of the horses; less compaction and erosion of the soil in paddocks, as horses will spend less time in the pasture and they can be rotated to promote healthy growth; by feeding and watering on a hardstand area, less manure will make its way into the waterways, and; reducing the risk of weeds spreading through contaminated feeds via manure.

Council is contributing almost $4,000 to the project through the Sustainable Agriculture Small Grants Program, in partnership with the Innovative Solutions Grant Fund, with the majority of works (more than $15,000 in cash and in-kind) to be funded by the landowner.

Council’s Program Leader – Sustainable Agriculture Eli Szandala said it was a sustainable system that saves time, money and effort and increases the health of horses and pasture.

Innovation Fund grants are available in the following categories:

•Water Demand Management – total amount available $15,000

•Waste Management – total amount available $15,000

•Sustainable Agriculture – total amount available $10,000

•Wastewater Management – total amount available $10,000

•River Health – total amount available $5,000

•Biodiversity – total amount available $5,000

Each program area has maximum amounts available per project. Applications can be made at any time and are assessed four times a year.

For more information visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/GrantsAndFunding.

For more on the Equicentral System, go to https://www.equiculture.net/theequicentralsystem.



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