DUE to the prolonged drought conditions around the state the capacity of livestock being carried per acre in certain areas is well below average, forcing graziers into financial hardship, or ultimately bankruptcy.
Other factors such as the rising cost of fossil fuels, the increase in the minimum wage level and grain and feed Deficits just to mention a few, are uncontrollable costs for a grazier.
It was out of these same factors that led Frank Mele to form a business called Sustainable Farming Solutions (SFS) which offers a sustainable agricultural model which has been personally developed through much trial and error over the past five years and put into practice on their 6000 acre property in Gumlu, North Queensland.
“It was back in 2003-04 when we were in the grip of another drought that the kernel of the idea sprung to mind,” Frank said.
“We were peeling cattle off the ground and nothing was growing; we realised that we didn’t need to change the way we operated personally; we needed to change the way the surrounding environment fed the property organically,” he said.
“Southern Cross University provided is with the statistics and studies which helped us develop a sustainable model that we then implemented on the property at Gumlu.
“One of the strategies we came up with was the construction of a 6000 megalitre oxbow lake, which allowed for the dam to fill on its own without using a single litre of fuel.”
The water retention created by the lake increased the grazing grass levels around the property without relying on the need for rainwater.
“That is just one example of how we adjusted our operation to suit the landscape of our property.”
Using the key factor of any properties natural landscape SFS can suggest adjustments to minimise/eliminate erosion, increase feed and introduce biodiversity to your land.
This model can be adapted to any property, decreasing external costs and increasing production, cattle capacity and broadening internal business capacities at the same time. The model is also applicable to the horticultural industry.
Frank said interest in the SFS model has been strong with a Julia Creek-based grazier acquiring their services.
“If all goes well, we’ll be using the Julia Creek job as a template for how drought proofing can be successfully carried out in Central Queensland.
Frank will be hosting in-depth information sessions at Richmond and Charters Towers in August to show graziers and growers how they can use the SFS model so their properties can be sustainable, resilient and productive in the long-term.
Information session details are as follows:
- Richmond on August 15 from 5pm at the Richmond Town Hall.
- Charters Towers on August 28 from 6pm at the Arthur Titley Centre.
For bookings and inquiries as to how SFS can help you and your property become resilient and drought proof call Frank Mele on 0407 385 587 or email email@example.com