Graziers and mixed operators joined Reef Catchments for the 2018 Innovative Grazing Forum in Mackay which was held on 20 March.
A number of featured speakers covered a range of topics at the full-day event which was followed, on March 21, by the Grazing Field Day.
Information included grazing best practice, nutrition, choosing better bulls, stream bank erosion, and rehabilitation.
This event was proudly supported by Reef Catchments and delivered by the Regional Landcare Facilitator through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme
Over 40 land managers attended the 2018 Grazing Field Day, on March 21, a perfect follow-up to the 2018 Innovative Grazing Forum.
Dr Terry McCosker led enthusiastic attendees through a soil health assessment in the field during an educational farm tour to learn how to assess the farmers greatest asset, the soil. He also discussed how to capture water in the soil where you need it, through building soil carbon. Did you know that a 1% increase in humus leads to a 4% increase in water retention? 1 part humus holds 4 parts of water.
Gwyn Jones of Tarwyn Park Training discussed weeds as an indicator of soil condition, plant succession and innovative ways that weeds can be managed. Here is the handout from the event “Weeds as Indicator Plants”.
This event was funded under the Queensland Government Natural Resource Management Investment Program.
Cloudbreak Lowlines visit and farm tour
More than 30 farmers and industry partners ignored inclement weather to take part in the Cloudbreak Lowlines visit and farm tour.
Farmers, Kell and Mandy Tennent, welcomed the group onto their ‘Cloudbreak‘ farm where they run Lowline cattle for their Cloudbreak Eungella Beef Enterprise.
The couple is determined to improve the practice and are currently involved in a lime application trial with Reef Catchments. As part of their management they also support Land for Wildlife and promote biosecurity awareness.
The participants were also keen to soak up the wealth of knowledge Landcare Groups from Mackay, Sarina, and the Whitsundays shared on the day. Topics covered included biosecurity, weed identification, weed control, revegetation management, and erosion control. The benefits of dung beetles related to soil health and the potential to source dungs locally in the near future was also emphasised.
The attendees, who were from diverse enterprises, enjoyed learning how to improve their management practice and they also appreciated the tips and clues which were shared about marketing, regional food branding, networks, and how they can support the local food culture.
Deb McLucas, president of the Greater Whitsunday Food Network, explained what motivated her to foster the development of a vibrant local food culture in our region. Mandy and Kell sell their Cloudbreak Eungella Beef at the Mackay Markets as part of their Great Whitsunday Food Network Partnership. Attendees were able to purchase their meats and other local produce such as chemical free garlic, ginger, relishes and jams which were on display at the barn paddock market set up on the day.
2017 Grazing Forum and Field Day
The 2017 Grazing Forum attracted more than 100 landholders and 25 industry representatives, an even larger audience compared to previous years. The majority of the speakers were actual graziers who discussed land management techniques to improve soil health, soil moisture holding capacity, and pasture ground cover.
The event enhanced graziers knowledge of how to be more sustainable, both in business, and from an environmental perspective.
Attendee feedback was positive, stating their interest in keeping up to date with latest innovative practices, particularly drainage management and erosion control measures.
One local grazier said, “We are already doing a lot, but the information provided by speakers attracted a lot more positive credibility to these practices”.
Regional Landcare Facilitator, Juliane Kasiske was extremely pleased with the strong interest from local farmers in the region who were willing to learn and implement changes to their practice.
Networking amongst industry peers is always a benefit when taking time off from the farm to attend events such as this, particularly for farmers who can be isolated geographically and who often work alone.
Trade displays enabled participants to get acquainted with supporting organisations. Thanks to CQ Agforce, Greater Whitsunday Food Network, Pioneer Catchment Landcare, Sarina Landcare, and Mt Ossa Rural. Also thanks to New Farm for the demonstration of spray drift reduction using an adjustable nozzle spray unit.
Many of the presentations were recorded which can be viewed on Reef Catchments Youtube channel.
- Land Resource Assessment and Management (LRAM), Bill Thompson
- Nuffield Scholar, Grazier and Soils for Life CEO Natalie Williams then Colin Creighton, Principal Research Scientist, Coastal and Estuarine Ecology
- Agforce, Senior Policy Advisor Greg Leach
- Terrain, Wet Tropics Regional Landcare Facilitator Fiona George
- Mt Pleasant (Collinsville) Grazier Garlone Moulin then Meat Livestock Australia George Basha
- Reef Trust 4 Funding , Reef Catchments Chris Dench
- Pest and weed Q&A
This event was proudly hosted by Reef Catchments with funding from the Queensland Government, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme and sponsored by MLA.
Grazing Field Day 17 March 2017
45 graziers ventured to the Trimble’s cattle property on the O’Connell River for a day of hands on learning, at the 2017 Grazing Field Day in March. The 114 hectare property is a showcase for what can be achieved through effective management practices.
Weed control, especially of sicklepod, itch grass and Giant Rat’s Tail grass, has been a major focus of their management and continues to be so. Extensive seeding of paddocks to V8 stylo, seca stylo, Mekong, Rhodes grass, signal grass and Humidicola has been undertaken, resulting in further weed control through competition.
The clear messages of the day was that effective weed control required a whole-of-property management approach and that monitoring and improving soil health can lead to productivity gains in grazing land.
Participants appreciated the practical take home lessons on how to test soil pH, and a demonstration that evaluated the effects that operating pressure, nozzle choice and weather conditions have on droplet size and spray drift.
The ability to see pasture and legume species growing in the paddock allowed landholders to assess the performance and make decisions on whether the species could be useful additions to their own grazing operations.
Our thanks to Darryl and Hannah Trimble for hosting the day and presenters: Allan Blair, Dept of Agriculture and Fisheries; Bill Thompson, Land Resource Assessment and Management; and Gerry Dogao, Sales Agronomist with PGG Wrightson Seeds.
This event was supported by Reef Catchments, through funding by the Queensland Government under the Queensland Regional Resource Management Investment Program: Sustainable Agriculture.
2016 Grazing Forum and Field Day
More than 110 graziers keen to adopt best management practice attended the Grazing Forum 2016. Industry leaders of innovation, on farm trials, market opportunities, genetics and new pasture varieties presented up to date information on the seasonal outlook, biosecurity and soil erosion.
Increased average sale yard prices combined with rainfall, has forecasters expecting graziers will be encouraged to restock in order to supply the domestic market, providing the perfect opportunity to make a profit.
An expert in soil health, Bill Thompson has spent his life in rural Queensland from North Burnett on the family farm to the Burdekin and now on his own grazing property at the headwaters of the Bremer River, Ipswich.
“The knowledge and understanding of generations of our farmers and graziers who protect nurture and invest in what soils do for everyone is grossly under-valued in modern society and politics. Such knowledge is more revered in other cultures I have worked in.”
Bill led a field day following the forum in a grazing paddock on Jensens Rd, Farleigh. The property had previously been under cane, however the transition to pasture had been managed successfully and drew a crowd keen to hear Bill share his insight into supporting the soil for optimum growth and nutrition.
Dr Brian Burns a leading expert in beef genetics focused on the topic, “Application of Genetic and Animal Breeding Principles to Northern Australian Beef Production Systems.” The presentation was intended to make it easier to understand gene sequencing and the extensive research into the requirements for tropical grazing.
Graziers came to understand the environmental factors, breeds and Genotypes of Cattle used in northern Australia, markets, the structure of breeding programs and concluded with a summary of why ‘Genetic Improvement Strategies are Important to the Northern Australia Beef Industry?’
Amanda Bland – Reef Catchments Grazing Planning Officer, was pleased to see new and familiar faces. With greater numbers of the younger generation that in previous years, she knows attendance is vital to events like these continuing.
“Topics this year have been identified through conversations with our local landholders, as well as feedback from previous forums. We wanted to introduce something new this year and one area of interest has been in selling and marketing produce locally.”
Deb McLucas – President of the Greater Whitsunday Food Network, updated the audience on the increasing opportunities to produce and sell their beef locally.
The Queensland Department of Agriculture revealed their most recent trial on Giant Rats Tail, biosecurity rights and obligations, climate outlook and the new tools for farmers to use to improve production and manage climate risk.
Mackay Regional Council educated people on the programs available to eradicate pests and weeds, along with other trade displays from pasture seed supplies, QFES, Reef Catchments and Landcare groups giving away native plants for re-vegetation.
For more information on events, please subscribe to the newsletter or call Michael Boland 4968 4200.
This project is supported by Reef Catchments, through funding from the Australian Government National Landcare Programme (NLP) and the Queensland Government Qld Regional Natural Resource Management Investment Program.
Presentations from the Mackay Grazing Forum, 16 March, 2016
You can download the following which are all pdfs.
- Bill Thompson Grazing and Erosion
- Gerry Dogao, New Pasture Varieties
- Glen Dale, Farm Forestry ABCD Framework
- Jim Fletcher, Giant Rat’s Tail
- Neil Cliffe, Managing Climate Variability
- Peter Attard, Innovation/Profit Drivers
- Phil Tickle, Spatial Hub (Mapping)
- Sarah-Jane Wilson, Biosecurity
- Deb McLucas, Whitsunday Food Network
Grazing Land Management Field Day 2015
Technical Notes from the Grazing Land Management Field Day, 3 September 2015
Kim Kleidon interviews Bill Thompson, Michael Boland, and Ken Ede