Bec Clapperton, Salisbury Plains.

Jim Lindsay explaining how to observe cattle moving in the yards, and how best to handle them in a calm way.

Low stress handling: keep calm and move them on

SIXTEEN landholders attended a two-day low stress stock handling school at Strathalbyn Station with leading education Jim Lindsay in mid-September.

Landholders from Strathalbyn, Wentworth, Dartmoor and Salisbury Plains attended the workshop.  Thanks to Bristow Hughes, of Strathalbyn, for hosting the workshop.

Starting in the ‘classroom’ (the shed), attendees underwent theory before they ventured out into the heat of the yard.

Under the care and guidance of Jim, the group put their new-found knowledge into action learning where to position themselves and when to apply pressure and to take it off.

This task isn’t easy, as the methods often go against human instinct when working stock.

The aim of the workshop was for landholders to learn the principles of good stock handling and low stress concepts to make informed decisions to achieve maximum cost effective production gains with low stress livestock. 

Participants learned how to move and process cattle more efficiently and productively, understand individual animals in a herd and the herd as a whole, and increase confidence to handle mobs with rotational grazing.

Low stress stock handling has grown as a recognised management technique for landholders.  Research has shown wide reaching implications from improved stock management through low stress behaviour.

Increased weight gain, increased conception rates and improved carcass quality are just a few of the benefits of low stress cattle handling.

The workshop was part of the LDC’s BBB Grazier Support program aimed at improving the amount and quality of information readily available to landholders to help them increase the quality of decisions being made on-ground, and in turn, help properties increase farm productivity and profit while also improving the environment.

This activity area supports a culture of stewardship that enables land managers to be effective custodians of the land.

Belinda Muntelwit, (left), and Susan Vail put their new-found knowledge into action learning where to position themselves and when to apply pressure and to take it off.

Ryan Lee, Dylan Lee, Susan Vail and Bronte Vale, all from Salisbury Plains.

Thurza Anderson, Wentworth Cattle Company and Ryan Lee, Salisbury Plains.

Pictured (from left): Wendy Barrett, Salisbury Plains, Shahni Hornery, Strathalbyn, and Belinda Muntelwit, Wentworth, get some pointers from Jim Lindsay.

Watching on are (from left) Susan Vail, and Ryan and Dylan Lee.

A theory lesson in the shed with Jim Lindsay.

Bristow Hughes, Strathalbyn, puts new-found knowledge into action.

Belilnda Muntelwit, Wentworth Cattle Company.

Jim Lindsay, (left), Bec Clapperton and Richard Colls.

Jim Lindsay provides last minute pointers before the group try their hand at new-found knowledge. From left, Ryan Lee, Susan Vail, Caitlin Vail, Wendy Barrett, Rod Barrett, Bec Clapperton, Shahni Hornery, J im Lindssay and Richard Colls.

Perched on a water trough observing Jim Lindsay in action moving a mob of cattle through the yards.

Boys from the bush (from left): Denholm Vail, and Ryan and Dylan Lee.

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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

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 #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 #5

KEQ #6

KEQ #7
KEQ #8

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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.
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