Grazing takes grass back to its roots

Graziers are always looking for ways to improve their grazing management, and landholders from the Burdekin Dry Tropics region have had the chance to do just that, through Grazing Naturally workshops.

Hosted by NQ Dry Tropics and facilitated by internationally recognised regenerative grazing expert Dick Richardson, the workshops provided practical tools for landholders to organise livestock to make sure the best use of the pastures grown, and to manage the frequency and intensity with which livestock graze pasture.

They were held at The Brook Station, Charters Towers, and at Six Mile Creek Station, Home Hill, and attracted 38 graziers and five industry representatives. Also, eight grazing families took the opportunity to have a one-on-one property visit with Mr Richardson to discuss their individual situations.

Event organiser NQ Dry Tropics Field Officer Linda Anderson said graziers learned how to make small changes to their grazing management to achieve greater use of  pasture, improved animal production and better business performance.  

“Graziers received practical advice on how to use the ‘natural’ tools they have to implement change to build resilience in pastures, cattle and business,” Ms Anderson said.

“Dick challenged graziers to think about how to manage stock, how to rotate paddocks and how to get the best out of growing pastures.

“Grazing naturally meets the challenges of erosion, more unreliable rainfall, extreme weather events, and higher farming input costs in the face of the increased demand of population growth to produce more food and fibre.

Mr Richardson said implementing change on-ground was a key component to building long-term resilience.

“Doing repetitive things like giving the same piece of country the same amount of rest every year, or grazing it for the same length of time every year creates a pattern where only plants that are suited wil survive,” Mr Richardson said.

“We lose other beneficial species from the ecosystem as a result which doesn’t do our land, cattle or business any good.

“Change drives change, it’s important for graziers to make continual changes.  They only need to be small,” he said.

Charters Towers grazier Dan Lyons, of Niall Station, said the discussion on the importance of making change was helpful.

“The most important message from the workshop was that we can make positive changes to our cattle and grass without spending lots of dollars,” Mr Lyons said.

Kate Murphy, of Gregory Springs Station, agreed and said the concept of resting pastures within a flexible framework was interesting.

“It was refreshing to hear that changing grazing patterns is good for business, and you can’t stuff it up if you don’t do it over and over and over again,” she said.

The event was an initiative of NQ Dry Tropics through the Saving Our Soils – Burdekin project supported by the Australian Government Reef Trust through the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.