From forum to farm – our graziers put learning into practice

Two men, Mark Oswald and Ian Brazier.
Mark Oswald and Ian Brazier enjoy this year’s grazing forum.

120 graziers, mixed operators and beef industry representatives headed to Mackay for the annual Mackay Innovative Grazing Forum in March.

Reef Catchments has hosted the grazing event for the past six years.

This year, simple science to make grazing enterprises more resilient, sustainable and efficient was the focus.

Graziers responded well, with many already actioning what they’ve learnt.

“More than 80% of our graziers said they felt inspired by what they have learned, and will be adopting the newly learned principles and practices on their own farm,” said Juliane Kasiske, event coordinator and Reef Catchments Regional Landcare Facilitator.

Terry McCosker.
Speaker, Terry McCosker, inspired many graziers to take action.

“This is fantastic news for us. A key purpose of this event is to provide information that is relevant to graziers looking to improve their practices, and think a bit more about the sustainability and resilience of their land and water systems.

“The forum is also a chance for graziers to let us know what they are interested in learning more about.

“This year we discovered they are keen to know more about the nutritional value of pastures, livestock diseases and how to manage them, online management tools and weed management.

“Reef Catchments will incorporate this feedback and cover these topics moving forward, so watch out for our future events!”

Juliane said she was also encouraged by the diversity of this year’s crowd.

“We had a good proportion of female graziers and younger graziers attending, which is fantastic to see,” she said.

Getting the word out.

The day was followed by a grazing field day with Dr Terry McCosker at a Mount Ossa property with high soil carbon. Terry led the group through a soil health assessment, helping them to figure out which weeds indicate acidity and or high nitrates and to understand what your weeds can tell you.

Grazier’s responses and learnings from the day included:

I’ll be moving my herd around more frequently now I chose my purely on data genetics.” – Chris Smythe

“I will be paying more attention to growing phases of grass and grazing accordingly. Also looking at weeds differently eg. weeds are plants and may have a viable function so look at how and where they grow to gain a better understanding of soil health.” – Elizabeth West

(Practices / principles I’d consider) “Monitoring grasses more closely when deciding when to rotate paddocks. Looking into having cattle in larger mobs to allow better rotation/use of country.” – Shanara Paton

(Planning to) “Apply some of Terry McCosker’s grazing principles, and tighten up calving spread and think more about bull selection after John Bertram’s presentation. Will look at gully erosion. The forum is informative, always good events.” – Jane Lindner

(Enjoyed) “Terry McCosker’s presentation especially explaining grazing pastures and controlled mating cattle, he explained it all very well. I will be trying to graze my paddocks better for the desirables and not worry so much about the undesirables, and also I can see the advantages of a 60 day mating period.” – Bruce Oxenbridge

“We have already since the forum implemented a change to our grazing rotation guided by the information about adapting to what the pasture is doing. We have also put together a plan for managing our creek banks in some high steam flow flooding areas to better prepare for high rainfall events.” – Travis Parry

The forum and field day are Reef Catchments events, funded through the Australian Government National Landcare Program (forum) and the Queensland Government Natural Resource Management Investment Program (field day).

If you’d like to receive future invitations to landholder events, please email