Nuffield Australia 2015 Scholar
Robert Webb, from Tarana in New South Wales, has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).
He will study the use of prescribed fire as a native pasture management tool.
Robert’s family owns and operates a seventh-generation fine wool Merino production and beef property. Spread across two properties totaling 1190 hectares, they run approximately 2000 fine wool Merino breeding ewes, 1500 fine wool Merino wethers, 700 prime lamb-producing ewes and 150 beef (Shorthorn Hereford cross) breeding cows. He assists his partners with financial planning and bench marking of the business.
Robert also runs Denhine Pty Ltd, an agribusiness offering specialist land management services including prescribed burning.
Fire rejuvenates native pasture and makes it more productive, which in turn can benefit wool growers by improving profitability through increased fleece weight and staple strength.
Robert will visit wool producing countries, as well as other grazing enterprises, to gain further knowledge of the use of fire as a grazing management tool for improving native pasture productivity.
“In particular, I’ll investigate the effect of wildfire on both pasture production and soil health, plus the impact of wildfire and associated temperature on different soil types.
In addition, I’d like to study the nutrient contribution of ash, the effect on microbial activity on burned soils and the recovery potential of native versus introduced species in an agricultural environment,” he explains.
Robert will visit USA, Portugal, Spain, Greece and South Africa to complete his studies.