Rural workshops help farmers improve their grazing operations

04 June 2018

Dozens of graziers walked away armed with some new ways of looking at and improving soil health and the profitability of their cattle operations following a workshop held at Oaky Creek in Scenic Rim on May 31.

As graziers continue to battle challenging economic and seasonal conditions,  the workshop was organised by Healthy Land and Water to help graziers maintain or adopt environmentally-sustainable grazing practices to improve their enterprise at a profit. 

The workshop was led by holistic management expert Graeme Hand, a Victorian beef farmer who has carved out a career researching and teaching graziers about regenerative soil and pasture management.

About 30 attendees walked through the Clark property at Oaky Creek and learnt ways to analyse the quality and stability of soil and then learnt the importance of having  dense perennial native pastures   to ensure the soil remained healthy and productive. 

Regenerating pastures through planned grazing was a major focus of the workshop, and attendees were instructed to allow desirable pasture species to properly regenerate and recover before stock were allowed back on the paddock. 

Attendees then learned methods of monitoring animals to identify the health of stock, including how to analyse dung, how to measure gut fill to ensure cows are full of grass and ways of ascertaining whether stock is happy and content on the land. 

Other topics covered included designing an effective cover crop, which is a crop planted primarily to manage soil erosion, soil fertility, weeds and pests and complement rather than replace perennial pastures.

Healthy Land and Water Regional Landcare Facilitator Bruce Lord said the workshop featured lively discussion and landholders gained some new skills and knowledge to put into practice at home.

"Graeme’s presentation again reinforced some key principles including the importance of planned grazing and appropriate rest to allow desirable perennial pastures to recover and regenerate," he said.

"He also touched on the the need to maintain high levels of groundcover and litter to protect soil surface, the value of monitoring both pastures and animal performance, and having flexible approach to stock numbers based on seasonal forage availability and plant needs."

The workshop was the latest in a series aimed at arming landhodlers and graziers with the skills to care for their land, improve environmental sustainability and increase productivity and profits. 

Mr Lord said he hopes similar workshops will be held throughout South East Queensland in the future.