In the paddock at Mt Pleasant Station are (anti-clockwise, from left): Brett Scott, Jocelyn Gordon, Jamie Gordon, Rod Barrett, Dr Christine Jones, Chantal Donelle and Joan Gordon.

Healthy soil makes for a healthy, productive region

Dr Christine Jones makes a point during a workshop at Woodlands.

Gillian Barbat from Reef Catchments (left) with Salsbury grazier Wendy Barrett.

Dr Christine Jones in the “classroom”.

Bob Harris, left, with Leanne and Barry O’Sullivan and Rod Barrett at a Woodlands workshop.

Bowen and Collinsville graziers have delved deeper into soil and pasture health with one of the best in the business — internationally renowned soil ecologist and founder of Amazing Carbon, Dr Christine Jones.

This year, LDC hosted two soil workshops with the aim of supporting graziers to undertake a wide range of activities to improve land management practices to help maximise pasture cover and reduce sediment runoff into local waterways while improving beef quality and production.

Dr Jones spoke about how a plant species-rich landscape could provide livestock with a healthy diet higher in minerals and amino acids. 

She also explained the science and the biology behind creating healthy soils and pastures, and how grazing systems could be adapted to help regenerate and build soil structure, and boost biological activity.

LDC is helping graziers implement benchmarked grazing practices for improved water quality.

Key to this is offering a wide range of training, educational and knowledge-sharing events to promote practices designed to improve and manage groundcover, improve infiltration of water into the soil, and reduce runoff and erosion.

Dr Christine Jones gets down in the trench to illustrate a point during a workshop at Woodlands.

Grazier Garlone Moulin sharing experiences during a workshop at Mr Pleasant Station.

Looking at the soil beneath the pasture.

National Soil Strategy out

The release of the National Soil Strategy in May this year provides a rallying call for all Australians with an interest in the management of one of our greatest resources – our soil.

Soil health has been a cornerstone of the LDC’s Grazier Support program.

Click here to read more about the National Soil Strategy and here to access LDC’s soil health resources.

NQ Dry Tropics’ Land Remediation Officer Dan Hazelman is flanked by graziers Sharon Yentsch (left) and Joan Gordon.

Grazier Mark Yensch (left) asks a question during an Amazing Carbon workshop at Woodlands. With him is Peter Sabeto.


Reef regulations - grazing, standard conditions

  1. For land in good or fair condition (more than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), continue using measures to maintain land condition.
  2. For land in poor condition (less than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition.
  3. For land in degraded condition (less than 20 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition OR prevent areas from further degrading or expanding.
  4. Keep records of measures taken and also of agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and mill mud or mill ash applied to land.
KEQ #8

KEQ #7
KEQ #6

KEQ #5

KEQ #4

The LDC project monitors four gully sites (represented in this table) with gold standard equipment and analysis, carried out by CSIRO.

Results have been compiled in a preliminary report from Bartley et al (2020), with the final report expected to be released by the end of 2020. The preliminary report shows all four sites have indicators of improvements, notably the Strathbogie and Mt Wickham sites.

KEQ #3

*The Exploring New Incentives activity area has provided an opportunity for graziers to adopt improved land management practices through a range of activities. For some of these properties, it was the first time they signed contracts for on-ground works.

KEQ #1

Figure 1. Total fine sediment reduction by project type and erosion source. Inset shows the proportion of the total project area for each project type.

These estimates have been calculated using two methods: 

1) The pollutant reduction component of the Alluvium/Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) investment tool for hillslope and streambank erosion management projects; 

2) The Reef Trust Gully Toolbox method for gully erosion management projects. The LDC Water Quality Report 2020 (Waterhouse et al., 2020) highlights that a number of assumptions underlay these calculations, therefore these figures should be treated as the best available estimate of sediment reductions to date.

Preventing sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef

Each wet season sediment is washed into local waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

Most sediment is very fine, and can stay suspended for a long time and can travel great distances. Valuable topsoil is lost from production, and increased concentrations on the reef can be harmful to seagrasses and corals. 

Landholders in the BBB have completed 69 on-ground water quality practice changes, and it is estimated that these have contributed a fine sediment reduction of 6,154 tonnes per year from reaching the GBR. 

Of this, approximately half of the sediment savings are attributable to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks, and the other half as a result of gully remediation treatments across a broad range of scales, as shown in the graphs above. 

The table below also highlights the relatively small area of intervention in the gully management projects compared to the large sediment savings that these can achieve - 60 per cent of the sediment savings over only 4 per cent of the project area.

Table 1. Estimated sediment reductions (tonnes) from projects completed in the LDC Project to date.

KEQ #2

*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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