There are greener pastures on the horizon for the Tennent family, after successfully undertaking an agricultural lime trial on their Cloudbreak Lowlines cattle property in the Pioneer Valley hinterland.
The family purchased the 215 acre Crediton property in 2010 to run their herd of grass-fed lowline cattle and immediately began work to regenerate the land, which had been operating as a dairy since the 1930s.
With the Crediton State Forest and Eungella National Park on their doorstep, Mandy Tennent said she and her husband Kell were determined to implement environmentally sustainable farming practices.
Mrs Tennent said they applied agricultural lime to two paddocks in June 2016, and noticed a difference to the pasture within just four to six months.
“We've seen a huge change in the couple of paddocks we did as the trial and our motivation to do it is that was we didn't want to put chemicals on our grass,” Mrs Tennent said.
“Agricultural lime is a natural product, there's no problems spreading it, no health issues in spreading it, and we have seen a big difference in the quality of the pasture.
“The grass has grown really well, it has covered areas where we used to have just bare patches of dirt, it has enhanced the growth of the clover as well which is very important to have that diversity.
“It leads to healthy pastures, higher nutrition and higher protein within the pasture as well, so the animals that are eating that pasture are going to be going forward a lot more than the animals on pasture that hasn't had anything added to it.
“So it's all a win-win situation, it keeps improving the soil and keeps improving the cattle as well”.
Mrs Tennent said they were continuing to expand their herd of lowline cattle, to cater to the increasing demand for both their live cattle and Eungella Beef brand.
“It's a balancing act between selling the live animals, selling the meat animals and also culling the herd too,” Mrs Tennent said.
“At the moment, happily, we have about 30 calves on the ground so that's put us in a really good position for the following couple of years.
“So we're finally getting up to those numbers we need to supply the demand that's there for the animals and for the beef.”
Mrs Tennent said they started selling their beef directly to the public at the Whitsunday Farmers Market this year and demand was increasing.
“The breed is getting out there and our beef brand is getting out there as well,” she said.
“Things are certainly going forward and we've only been doing one market a month as we only had that many finished steers, but as our numbers grow exponentially we will be able to do more markets.”
Mrs Tennent said one of the great selling points of lowlines was that they were an early maturing and early finishing animal.
“So potentially, on good pastures with good genetics, you can turn off a steer at around 24 months of age.”
She said a steer that was about 400kg live weight at two years of age could yield about 130-140kg of dressed meat.
“That’s a pretty good turn around, two years is ideal eating wise as well, it is still nice and tender but has the flavour that a bit of age has given it.”