Nutrition matters | Landholders Driving Change

Make informed decisions about dry season stock supplements

Dry pastures can leave graziers with low protein, stubble and roughage to get stock through summer, so supplementation can play a vital role. 

Using grass, soil and water testing, graziers can make more informed decisions for supplementation programs.  A Jim Wade workshop can help graziers:

  • relate testing results to animal performance & production; 
  • use supplementation as an adjunct to grass and grazing management;
  • balance diet quality for improved performance; 
  • balance protein, trace elements and energy for animal classes; and 
  • assess the financial impact of supplementation programs.

Jim is working with LDC’s Normanby Road cluster group to determine how best to provide cattle with a balanced diet all year round.

 Diagnostic tests of plant tissue, soil and water from each property, is helping graziers understand the science behind how best to provide their herd a balanced diet to optimise feed efficiency, weight gain and production outcomes. 

Click here for more information about what the Normanby Road cluster group is achieving.

Contact Adrienne Hall on 0428 158 859. 

Peer groups have an important role

An important component of the LDC project is to foster peer groups that are self-directed and supported by extension staff, to help deliver skills and knowledge.

Cluster groups of neighbouring properties consider landscape remediation and other land management goals through a cooperative effort, and share resources across boundary activity.

Supporting graziers this way aligns with the LDC project’s vision: “Empowering communities in the Bowen and Collinsville region to manage healthy and productive landscapes”.

Jim Wade with LDC Manager Lisa Hutchinson

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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

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*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.

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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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