Eighteen North Queensland grazing enterprises have completed holistic management training aimed at building resilience into their systems and improving their business performance, while helping to minimise their environmental impacts.
The graziers, based around Bowen and Charters Towers, attended eight days of training as part of NQ Dry Tropics’ Building Resilience in the Burdekin Grazing Industry project.
Project officer Rod Kerr said that the high level of interest in the training demonstrated that more and more North Queensland graziers were thinking about adopting holistic management practices.
“The graziers’ commitment to the programme was outstanding, especially considering the season they have just gone through. They clearly intend to make immediate practice changes to their enterprises,” Mr Kerr said.
Holistic management trainer Brian Wehlburg was impressed by the willingness of the businesses to adopt new practices. He was encouraged by the graziers’ enthusiasm to take more control of their operations at all levels of the business.
“Change is a difficult process for many people and holistic management principles, though simple, challenge a lot of strongly held paradigms,” Mr Wehlburg said.
Michael and Michelle Lyons from Wambiana Station near Charters Towers, believe that holistic management practices can improve ecological functions on the land and improve profitability.
Michelle said that one of the highlights of the programme was taking time out from daily operations to plan, discuss and brainstorm ideas with her partner and other graziers.
Michael and Michelle’s Charters Towers group were keen to see first-hand, the challenges and successes of graziers who are implementing some of the new practices.
To facilitate this, Dalrymple Landcare Committee coordinator Kirsty McBride organised a bus trip from Charters Towers to Leanne and Barry O’Sullivan’s Glenalpine Station near Bowen, in conjunction with NQ Dry Tropics, Mr Wehlburg and fellow trainer Helen Lewis.
Thirty graziers from the Charters Towers and Bowen groups spent the day discussing practical pasture and livestock management with Leanne and Barry, who are very optimistic about the holistic management changes they have made to their operation.
“It was great to have so many innovative landholders come together to share ideas on how to manage their land and businesses better. It’s not easy to jump in the deep end and implement new practices, but having a support network certainly makes it easier.” Ms McBride said.
Bowen grazier Bob Harris from Glencoe Station said the day highlighted that grazing planning is the key to taking advantage of recent rainfall and ensuring that pastures recover.
Mr Harris has reduced the number of mobs in his operation, and doubled the number of paddocks, so that he is now able to rest paddocks.
“More intensive grazing for a shorter period will improve soil fertility resulting in improved grass growth and quality,” he said.