AFTER experiencing a succession of dry winters, Mingela grazier Chris LeFeurve decided to take steps to improve the drought resilience of his property by undertaking a series of landscape rehydration initiatives.
Mr LeFeurve started looking at ways to retain moisture at his 6677 hectare property Worona Station four years ago, and his work is beginning to reap the rewards.
He said coming out of dry winters was tough which prompted him to investigate was to retain moisture in the land, so that he wouldn’t need to supplement feeding.
“We started undertaking rehydration work,” Mr LeFeurve said.
“Over the last four years we have done some work to repair actively eroding gullies and retain moisture and spread it out over the property.
“The bonus is greater ground cover and improved pasture, and more biodiversity.”
The LeFeurve family undertook projects including diversion bands, porous check dams and managing track drainage in a bid to rehydrate the property.
Mr Lefeurve said he had noticed big changes in the look of the landscape since undertaking rehydration works.
“The biggest change is more biodiversity, and increased pasture,” he said.
“Instead of concentrating on the cattle we have focussed on land condition.
“As a result we’ve seen a reduction in active erosion and a healing of gullies as a result of change in grazing management and water management.”
NQ Dry Tropics hosted a Rehydrating Landscape field day at Worona Station to showcase their work.
Organiser NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Project Officer Sam Skeat said the aim was to show graziers examples of how moisture can be retained on their property, and to provide them with tools to help them work out the most cost-effective way of implementing a solution to problems like erosion in the landscape.
“Graziers were able to see first-hand how a producer has increased his water infiltration, reduce erosion and maximise pasture function,” Mr Skeat said.
“We looked at technical intervention on a gully that now holds water in the landscape instead of running off.
“Introducing controlled grazing has also helped Chris to build capacity in this system and is now able to carry more stock.
“There is plenty of green grass and water on the property and it hasn’t rained in four months.
“It’s important to emphasise that water is not being taken out of the system. The process to fill up the sponge under this bit of country is being reinstated, and that means Chris is growing better pasture.
“It also benefits the Reef in terms of reducing sediment leaving this system and the property.”
Mulloon Institure Community Landscape Rehydration Project Officer Cam Wilson, who presented at the field day, said water invigorated ecosystems, livestock and wildlife as well as grazing enterprises.
“Rehydrating landscapes is about making use of what little water we have, and reinstating the old hydrological processes which then underpin the ecological processes to provide benefits for the grazier and his production,” Mr Wilson said.
“The more we can put the old processes in place the less we have to do and so it’s all about making systematic intervéntions that really work with those old structures and processes.
“When landholders understand their country condition they can use strategic criteria to develop bang for buck repair programs,” he said.