WRESTING control of rough and rugged grazing country on New Moon Station at Dotswood is a focus for the Heading family who are trying to increase productivity.
Cam Heading, wife Susan and children Lainee, Ivy and Ted, moved to New Moon from the family's home property, Toomba Station north of Charters Towers, three years ago. Mr Heading said the 27,000 hectare property had some challenging ranges and he was working to improve under-utilised pastures to take pressure off better grazing areas.
The Headings run about 1500-1600 Brahman cull heifers and steers, which are then taken back to Toomba.
"It's a rough place, ultimately in the range you can't overstock that country," Mr Heading said. He uses fencing and watering points to improve productivity and finish each wet season with more ground cover, while reducing erosion and sediment delivery to the Burdekin River, to which his property has a 37km frontage.
"Some of the country is almost inaccessible, but we're fencing and building access roads and gradually getting in there," Mr Heading said.
Dams are key to Mr Heading's pasture management plan and they have built more than 30.
The 1600ha Bullock Paddock on the north end of New Moon was watered by one dam, and when it dried up cattle watered on a stretch of the Burdekin River.
Running more than 200 cows and calves, the lack of watering points led to over-grazing along the frontage country. With support from NQ Dry Tropics, Mr Heading built two new dams and fenced the paddock in two.
Fences around the dams and the ability to spell the riparian frontage area during the wet season allowed Mr Heading to improve ground cover and remediate the damaged area.
Four new dams were installed in the 7000ha Down River Paddock, allowing Mr Heading to spread grazing pressure more evenly and use previously inaccessible areas. With exclusion fencing on each dam, the herd is moved around the large area, providing pasture near the dams time to recover.
"It is reassuring the fact we've now got a lot more grass," Mr Heading said.
"We can spread out and make it more drought proof."