The Digital Farmer – workshop on software

The LDC Grazier Support program supports graziers by hosting a wide range of workshops that focus on business planning.  Farm management software and mapping workshops are proving popular.

Whole of farm management software training

A growing number of local graziers are seeking information about farm management software to help them plan, monitor and analyse property activities.

They want relevant and up to minute performance analysis about their business so they can react more quickly to changing circumstances.

So, in February, LDC hosted AGDATA Australia to deliver Phoenix Farm Management Software workshops to local graziers.  A total of 10 participants completed Budgeting and Enterprise Planning and Rural Financial Business Management training modules.

The training showed graziers how they can analyse their business performance, better track and analyse the importance of keeping detailed financial and stock records to plan for a profitable future.

The workshop, held at the Collinsville Independent Living Centre, was conducted by AGDATA Australia Senior Support and Training Manager Mark Leahy.

The Phoenix suite of products is a comprehensive and integrated financial and farm management system.  Available in a complete solution or individual modules, it allows clients to choose the modules that are right for their business.

AGDATA was established on a family property near Wandoan, Queensland in 1984.  The business is now based in Toowoomba.

Janelle Dobe (left), and Kelly Lund

Del (left), and Jessie Norman

DAF officers Kate Brown and Jim Fletcher with Flagstone Station manager Brett Scott at the LDC FarmMap4D training working at Collinsville Connect Telecentre in January.

Benefits of online mapping application training

Bowen and Collinsville graziers continue to take part in FarmMap4D online mapping application workshops to assist with property management and planning.

These one-day workshops provide landholders with the knowledge, skills and tools to map, plan, analyse and monitor their property infrastructure, land resources and groundcover.

The web-based tool combines geospatial mapping technologies with time-series ground cover satellite imagery to analyse grazing pressure and land condition, to help land managers to make more informed decisions.

FarmMap4D allows landholders to produce customised maps of their property, audit on-farm infrastructure, plan grazing regimes and estimate long-term safe carrying capacity.

This includes being able to plan fences and manage water resources effectively such as being able to calculate how much wire is needed to fence a new paddock or how much pipeline is required to pump water from a new dam to a water trough.

Graziers can also analyse seasonal trends in groundcover within a paddock or entire property to assess land condition and the impacts of management and investment decisions.

Landholders Driving Change provides extension services and technical support to users of FarmMap4D. Landholders interested in using FarmMap4D can contact Rodger Walker on 0408 828 276.


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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