Nineteen graziers and land managers representing 10 enterprises met recently at Toomba Station, north of Charters Towers, for the first of a four-part series of NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Management courses.

Participants learned how well-managed grazing can stimulate growth of preferred pasture species, improve rainfall infiltration and moisture retention, and protect against erosion. They also discussed how the duration and intensity of grazing affects perennial plant growth.

The course, delivered by grazier and Holistic Management educator Dr Judi Earl, is part of NQ Dry Tropics’ Sustainable Soils for the Burdekin project, funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Sharon Cunial NQ Dry Tropics’ Project Officer (Soil Health), said that Toomba was an excellent venue for the first workshop, and thanked hosts Rodney and Josie Heading:

“We visited three different paddocks to discuss issues such as grass physiology, and forage budgeting”, Ms Cunial said.

“Judi explained how soil that has protective ground cover experiences significantly lower daily temperature fluctuations. This is good news for organisms in the soil that are responsible for breaking down and storing carbon, and cycling nutrients.

“The group engaged in some really interesting discussions, and feedback from participants indicated that what they learned will help them better plan their grazing and improve how they monitor pasture growth”, she said.

Future workshops will cover methods to maximise rainfall, how to read soil tests, how soil biology cycles nutrients, and how grazing management can address soil chemical imbalances.

Photo: Judi Earl and Jason Heading identify growth points on a grass tiller.