Boulia mayor shows off his grazing strategy to the PM

PM learns about magic Mitchell grass


Boulia mayor Rick Britton and scientist David Phelps tell the prime minister about mitchell grass on Goodwood Station. Picture: Lydia Lynch

Boulia mayor Rick Britton and scientist David Phelps tell the prime minister about mitchell grass on Goodwood Station. Picture: Lydia Lynch

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Grazing lands scientist, David Phelps joined Cr Britton at Goodwood Station last week to share grazing strategies with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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Despite his best efforts, Boulia mayor Rick Britton cannot make it rain. 

He can however manage his pasture to ensure when the heavens do open – he is making the most of it. 

Grazing lands scientist, David Phelps joined Cr Britton at Goodwood Station last week to share grazing strategies with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull was keen to learn more about Mitchell grass, a native grass which is impressively resistant to drought and has battled against a run of dry seasons in the region. 

Drought is part and parcel of agricultural life in western Queensland and historically, the management of Mitchell grass has been patchy and had major economic implications.

Cr Britton has had to resist the temptation of restocking his paddocks after drought-breaking rain finally arrives, to give the pasture time to rejuvenate. 

Mr Turnbull was so intrigued with grazing strategies at Goodwood station, he ordered his pack of media flunkies to film Cr Britton and Dr Phelps explaining the technique to share with others. Picture: Lydia Lynch.

Mr Turnbull was so intrigued with grazing strategies at Goodwood station, he ordered his pack of media flunkies to film Cr Britton and Dr Phelps explaining the technique to share with others. Picture: Lydia Lynch.

Keeping his cattle off parts of the station for longer periods allows moisture to creep further underground and stimulate more growth at the roots. 

Dr Phelps told the prime minister, if country is stocked heavily and gets packed down, rain will be a lot less effective as the land needs to be rested for 6-12 months. 

Mr Turnbull was so intrigued with grazing strategies at Goodwood Station, he ordered his pack of media flunkies to film Cr Britton and Dr Phelps explaining the technique to share with others.

“We have met one innovative smart farmer after another and Rick is today’s example,” Mr Turnbull said. 

"The way you are managing grazing and nurturing that Mitchell grass to ensure you maintain your resilience and having the discipline not to overgraze, requires a lot of determination,” he said. 

“We are, as the poet said, the land of droughts and flooding rains, we must not forget that. We have got to be as resilient and as agile in responding to it as we can,”

Mr Britton’s local council area is one of 23 drought declared across Queensland – representing almost 60 per cent of the state's land mass.

No extra money was allocated to drought relief in the most recent federal budget.

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