As the beef industry comes under increased external scrutiny from customers and regulators to demonstrate environmental compliance, graziers in North Queensland are responding, using spatial information to improve on-farm production outcomes and environmental benefits.

Forty-six graziers from 39 properties across the region have taken part in “Working On The Business” workshops held in Charters Towers, Bowen and Home Hill in direct response to demand from graziers.  NQ Dry Tropics Grazing BMP Co-ordinator Lisa Hutchinson said a key feature of the two-day workshops was mapping for agriculture risk management.

“Spatial data allows farmers to save time and manage their businesses with less risk and potentially greater profit,” Ms Hutchinson said.

“Day one focussed on mapping training to help graziers ensure their property mapping was adequate to meet the requirements for both infrastructure and property planning, as well as the new demands of Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) biosecurity planning.

“Day two provided an overview of property planning as well as the requirements and documentation necessary to meet legislative requirements for workplace health and safety, safe use of chemicals, animal health and welfare, biosecurity planning, LPA accreditation and Johne’s Beef Assurance Score.

“The initiative for these workshops came from the producers, but I saw the value because the topics we covered are all linked intricately to the five modules of the Grazing BMP.

“People are overwhelmed at the level of record keeping required to ensure compliance but the reality is as a grazier you need to be on top of these requirements to protect yourself and your business,” she said.

Marise Roberts of “Swans Lagoon” Station at Milleroo said she valued the session on mapping.

“It was a great couple of days and very informative. I really enjoyed the mapping and its likely that we will make changes through more training for staff,”Ms Roberts said.

“The single most important message for me was to keep up with the paperwork,”she said.

Stephanie Tudehope from “Landers Creek” at Millaroo agreed.

“We now have an accurate property map and peace of mind that we are up to scratch with biosecurity.  I know now how important it is to keep up to date records and do training with staff,” Ms Tudehope said.

Ms Hutchinson said with attendees at the Charters Towers workshop alone managing more than 222,486 hectares, the influence from these workshops would be felt widely.

“Participants from the three workshops manage 390,450 hectares of land over five river catchments and had all completed the Grazing BMP,” she said.

Grazing BMP was developed by industry for industry in partnership between AgForce, the Fitzroy Basin Association and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF),and is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments.

Photo: NQ Dry Tropics Project Officer – Paddock to Reef Jade Fraser provides advice to graziers to make sure their property mapping is adequate to meet the requirements for property planning, as well as the new demands of Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) biosecurity planning at the Charters Towers WOTB workshop.