LDC’s Sheridan Callcott addresses an attentive crowd of young graziers, the BBB’s “Young Guns”.

Beef industry young guns network in the BBB

A young graziers event held at Strathalbyn Station, near Collinsville, has provided an educational and networking opportunity for those under the age of 40.

Bristow and Ureisha Hughes, of Strathalbyn Station, kindly agreed to host the event. Their 34,000ha beef cattle operation runs 5000 to 6,500 head of breeding stock with Wagyu, Brahman and Red Poll genetics.

Thirty young minds enjoyed the day which included a property tour, guest speakers, and ended with a barbecue.

The beef industry has a continual driving force behind it with the next generation of rural enthusiasts coming through. 

That’s why LDC’s grazing support officer Sheridan Callcott brought together like-minded young graziers to share and learn more about primary production businesses to encourage on-going education for young landholders in the BBB.

The young guns got out in the paddock, inspected cattle, and learned about grazing and land improvements the Hughes family has made in recent years to increase productivity and profitability, while boosting environmental outcomes.

The event was also a great opportunity for the group to learn from two of the best in the industry, Dick Richardson, of Grazing Naturally, and Brian Wehlburg, certified holistic trainer, of Inside Outside Management.

Inside Outside Management principal Brian Wehlburg gets some audience participation going as he talks about landscape changes to the Young Guns field day.

Video insights

Click to listen to what event organiser Sheridan Callcott and host Bristow Hughes had to say about the day.

Click to watch this short video of Dick demonstrating how to assess feed availability using the STAC method. This was one of several methods discussed on the day.

Click to watch this video of Brian providing insights on how and why different environments exist in the landscape, and how grazing can be an effective tool to improve the environment.

Click on the cross in the top righthand corner to close overlay when you finish watching.

Grazing Naturally's Dick Richardson explains the STAC method
Brian Wehlburg discusses using cattle as a management tool
Organiser and host talk about the Young Guns field day


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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