Glencore backs BBB graziers

Terry McCosker

BOWEN and Collinsville landholders have a unique opportunity to attend an RCS Grazing Clinic run by internationally acclaimed Terry McCosker.

The clinic, sponsored by Glencore, is a practical hands-on workshop to help landholders develop skills to become grass managers. They will also gain an understanding of the six essential grazing management principles and how to develop strategies for profitable property planning and overall improved grazing management.

The clinic is being hosted by NQ Dry Tropics’ Landholders Driving Change project, a large-scale water quality and land improvement project that is being rolled out in the Bowen Broken Bogie (BBB) catchment to tackle erosion and improve land management, productivity, and reef water quality.

Glencore Community Relations Manager Craig Strudwick said Glencore welcomed the opportunity to work with the agricultural and farming sectors.

“Only 7 per cent of the land we own is used for active mining purposes; almost 80 per cent of our land supports cattle grazing and cropping,” Mr Strudwick said.

“We therefore understand the challenges faced by graziers and farmers, and we’re delighted to be able to provide an opportunity for local landholders to learn from an expert like Terry McCosker.”

Mr Strudwick said Glencore was also working with NQ Dry Tropics on improving land management and tackling erosion in the Burdekin region.

“We’re not only providing $150,000 in funding for landscape remediation, but also offering local landholders insights into the rehabilitation techniques we use across our mining operations,” he said.

Landholders Driving Change project manager Andrew Yates said NQ Dry Tropics valued the tangible support offered by Glencore as a corporate contribution to the Bowen Broken Bogie community.

“NQ Dry Tropics is very pleased Glencore is supporting the Landholders Driving Change project,” Mr Yates said.

“One aim is to deliver appropriate and quality training and extension services that supports landholders strategic decision making.

“Landholders recognise that any educational opportunity offering new ideas and options to enable better decision-making around drought, land management and profitability is well worth participating in.

“Another aim is to evaluate the impact of gully remediation options to underpin future investor, stakeholder and public confidence in the impact of erosion control projects on water quality, cost-effectiveness and agricultural production,” he said.

Landholders Driving Change is a Burdekin Major Integrated project funded by the Queensland Government through the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program.

The clinic will be held at the Collinsville Community Centre on 23-25 October. To register, contact Landholders Driving Change Land Management Support Coordinator Rodger Walker on 0408 828 276 or rodger.walker@nqdrytropics.com.au.  

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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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