Pastoral stations represent more than just an industry to the people of the Gascoyne. It is a way of life that characterizes the history and people of the region. Despite its history as a wool producing region, the main production from the pastoral region in the Gascoyne is now beef, sheep and lamb meat. Total livestock disposals in the 2006/7 year added $11.4 million to the region’s economy. During the same year, wool production brought in $7.35 million.
There are 80 are pastoral stations in the Gascoyne average size of a pastoral lease in the Gascoyne is 125,627 hectares.
The productivity per hectare of the rangelands is relatively low compared with productivity in the southern agricultural regions of WA. Even though there may be low productivity, this is offset by the large size of pastoral businesses and the relatively large livestock herds and flocks on each pastoral lease.
As the tenure of the rangelands is pastoral leasehold, the capital invested in landholdings is relatively low per hectare of land, compared with other forms of land tenure, mainly freehold, in the agricultural regions.
Meat and wool production are the primary pastoral activities, however many enterprising stations are diversifying to take advantage of opportunities in goat domestication, horticulture, inland aquaculture and outback tourism.
Measures taken toward diversification to protect this marginal region are encapsulated in the Gascoyne Murchison Strategy, a Federal/State partnership program that is still widely influencing direction in the Gascoyne pastoral industry.
The WA Department of Agriculture and Food is active in rangelands management and development. The latest information on rangelands activity can be accessed through their publication the Southern Rangelands Pastoral Memo. The Department of Agriculture and Food have also published a good overview of rangelands pastoral businesses.
Rangelands WA is one of six regional natural resource management groups established in Western Australia in accordance with the agreement between the Australian and Western Australian Governments to deliver the Caring for Country program. The directions and priorities of this organization on land use planning are encapsulated in their strategy.
Note: Content sourced from Gascoyne Development Commission