MLA demo sites | Landholders Driving Change

Demonstration sites help to bolster business viability

LDC has partnered with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to develop two Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) to improve business productivity and profitability outcomes.

LDC has been successful in securing funding from MLA to establish two Producer Demonstrations Sites (PDS).

MLA partners with producer groups to achieve improved business productivity and profitability outcomes.  

Joint LDC-MLA PDS will focus on:

  • regenerative grazing practices (a five-year project); and
  • an integrated approach to weed control (a three-year project).

Collinsville Region Regenerative
Grazier Network

Strathalbyn Station grazier Bristow Hughes

Chair: Bristow Hughes

The Collinsville Region Regenerative Grazier Network includes four BBB properties.

This network of regenerative graziers manages more than 680,000ha of grazing country and runs about 70,000 breeders.

The network will test regenerative grazing practices across a wide range of environments and commercial scales, and will demonstrate how livestock can improve soil biology, and stimulate production of quality pasture through livestock impacts while improving herd performance.

Regenerative grazing practices will feature mobbing-up of cattle, planned grazing based on matching stock numbers to carrying capacity (forage production), high-density short duration grazes with long pasture recovery periods, and retaining suitable ground cover at the end of the dry season.

The practices require an integrated approach and all facets of the enterprise are equally important.

The project will provide critical herd performance, pasture management and soil health data for the increasing number of graziers undertaking regenerative grazing practices in the Bowen and Collinsville areas.

The network will conduct a series of field events and other extension activities throughout the five-year project to showcase the demonstration site results.

Integrated catchment-wide priority
weed management group

Glenalpine Station grazier Barry O’Sullivan and son Wayde

Chair: Barry O’Sullivan

The Integrated catchment-wide priority weed management group includes six BBB properties.

The weed management group will implement a new, co-operative and integrated approach to identifying the best practice management of the highest priority economic weeds in the catchment.

Identified priority weeds: 

  • Lantana (Lantana camara)
  • Rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora)
  • Prickly acacia (Vachellia nilotica)
  • Belly ache bush (Jatropha gossypifolia)
  • Chinee apple (Ziziphus mauritiana)

The properties will tackle the weeds of most importance to their area, exploring and, where practical, implementing a suite of options, including biological, mechanical and chemical controls, combined with grazing best practices.

The properties will measure and compare:

  • relative costs of previous control and maintenance measures with the new practices;
  • the areas of weeds treated and the comparative success rates for the new practices; and
  • the number of new cooperative actions with neighbours and other land managers.

The PDS will conduct a series of field events and other extension activities throughout the three-year project to showcase the demonstration site results.

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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.

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*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.

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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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