Growing more beef while fixing the farm


Quieter animals, more pasture and better productivity.

That's what is being promised to cattle owners who build a few more fences and move their stock regularly.

The idea's been around under a few names for years but now it's being called rotational grazing.

A series of field days is being held to convince south east Queensland's increasing number of cattle owners they can have their beef and their environment too.

Colin Hastie from SEQ Catchments, who's involved in organising the days, says the idea is to balance cattle production with efforts to address environmental degradation.

He says farmers who've trialled the method have found they can increase their stocking rate while keeping groundcover at around 90 per cent all year round.

One of the showcase properties is 650 hectares owned by Clyde Bain near Rathdowney, just over the range from the Gold Coast.

He moves his stock every few days through a series of creek flat paddocks in summer and up into steeper ironbark country in winter.

"They pretty much tell me when it's time to move," he said.

"There's no mustering to do, they're basically there waiting for me to open a gate and let them through.

"They'll eat off the top, pretty much get stuck into it straight away, they'll go into the next paddock and that paddock will recover quicker."

Retaining ground cover has brought a lot of environmental benefits since he started developing rotational grazing on the property in 2007.

Colin Hastie says areas of severe erosion on Clyde Bain's property have been reduced or reversed, particularly in what had been heavy traffic areas, and water is being held on property for longer.

"The soil condition improves dramatically because of the increase in pasture and the increase in organic matter," he said.

"With that increased health comes increased biodiversity at a soil and pasture level so we're seeing a fantastic return of native grass species."

He says other vegetation also has a chance to recover when not grazed as intensively and that leads to an increase in wildlife.

Colin Hastie says farmers who've been trialling the method are also reporting unexpected benefits such as breaking the tick cycle in paddocks.

Four field days are being run by SEQ Catchments with funding from the Federal Government's Caring for our Country program.

http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2012/s3466790.htm?site=brisbane

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