Australian Wool Innovation Limited (AWI), owner of The Woolmark Company, is a not-for-profit company that invests in research, development and marketing for the Australian wool industry.
Nuffield Australia 2020 Scholarship winner
Tom Hooke from Wanganella, New South Wales, receives a Nuffield Scholarship with support from Australian Wool Innovation (AWI). Tom will use his Scholarship to research innovative regenerative agriculture principles to apply to Australian pastoral sheep enterprises.
Tom, together with his brother Marcus, run the family’s 25,000-hectare property comprising 9,000 commercial Merino ewes, 1,000 stud Merino ewes and 200 Angus cows across predominantly open pastoral country in the western Riverina region.
As someone passionate about a holistic approach to farming, Tom is keen to further extend the principles of rotational grazing to sheep enterprises in pastoral zones, which largely rely on very low input systems and minimal chemical intervention.
“Improved grazing management practices present a major opportunity for sheep producers in these pastoral zones, and my research seeks to unearth leading examples from around the world that can further strengthen our industry’s sustainability efforts,” Tom said.
“With the recent drought highlighting the difference in production outcomes from land that is well managed, there has never been a more important time for sheep producers to explore sustainable methods to manage risks in the midst of climatic variability.”
Tom will visit Africa, as well as North and South America, to identify long-term production benefits of rotational grazing in the rangelands and regenerative agriculture, with an aim to pass this knowledge on to peers across the sheep production industry and the wider agricultural sector.