Fitzroy

    Learn more about how social monitoring will be measured in future report cards.

    Grazing

    Reef Trust Grazing practice change project

    The Save our Soils project is a Reef Trust I project with Fitzroy Basin Association and NQ Dry Tropics. It was established with a whole-of-enterprise focus in partnership with landholders to help plan for change and identify their training needs. Funded by the Australian Government and delivered in collaboration with the Queensland Government, the project supported a number of beef producing enterprises to improve production, performance and profitability through improved property management practices in the Fitzroy and Burdekin regions.

    Eighteen enterprises attended training courses and activities. All participants indicated that since participating in the program they had made direct changes such as fencing and water infrastructure for grazing management, feed budgeting, soil erosion management, rotational grazing, and pregnancy testing. They also improved their data collection and most had improved their business performance monitoring and planning.

    Social outcomes have been reported from this project with 80% of participants providing feedback. The results from feedback at the beginning of the program and a survey at the end, showed that participants’ rating of their land management strategies, soil management strategies and ground cover strategies changed over the course of the program.

    Initially, the most important priorities for participants were achieving minimum levels of profit, minimising tax and equalising profit between years - all very risk averse management strategies. By the program’s end, participants reported maximising profit had increased by 61%, production had increased by 32% and a further 20% had increased their regular control of overhead costs, which points to greater confidence and a change in perception.

    Watch this video to hear what motivates graziers and why the love working on the land.

    Project Pioneer

    Project Pioneer managed by Resource Consulting Services (RCS) and funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust Program supports 50 grazing businesses from the Burdekin, Burnett, Fitzroy and Mary catchments to improve farm management capacity leading to the adoption of better land management practices and improved land condition. The project aims to transition 300,000 hectares of grazing land to class ‘A’ land condition, stopping erosion through gullies and streambanks, and reducing the amount of fine sediment reaching the Reef.

    From the 50 businesses engaged in the project, 43 have completed the RCS Next Steps Peer Mentor Program, a six-month skill development program with an RCS mentor to help businesses implement changes on-farm. Businesses have also received tailored on-farm consultations to conduct ground cover measurement, property mapping and establish monitoring sites. Project Pioneer reported a total of 440,203 hectares under improved management, such as matching stocking rate to carrying capacity, monitoring and planning, time-controlled grazing and financial, ecological and production data management.

    The project has been reporting social outcomes. Before and after landholder surveys in 2017 and 2019 to measure the degree to which landholders felt they had made changes to their land management practices found that:

    • 70% more landholders reported that they were paddock spelling “a lot more”
    • 55% more landholders reported that they were recording data for pastures “a lot more”
    • 79% more landholders reported that they were managing financials “a lot more”
    • 43% more landholders reported that they adjusted stock for feed availability “a lot more”.

    The 2019 landholder survey also indicated that landholders said they were on average 70% more likely to have better land condition in the future pointing to greater producer confidence producers since being involved with Project Pioneer.

    Read more stories from producers involved in Project Pioneer or watch this video to learn more about Project Pioneer.

    Northern Grazing demonstration project

    The Northern Grazing demonstration project is engaging beef producers centred around demonstration sites on four grazing properties in the Upper Herbert, Upper Burdekin, Bowen Broken Bogie and Fitzroy. It reinforces the importance of good grazing management, based on the principles demonstrated by the long-term Wambiana Grazing Trial. The project is delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and is funded through the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program in collaboration with the Northern Genomics Project from Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at the University of Queensland.

    Significant activities include:

    • demonstration sites established as examples to improve productivity, profitability and land condition health into the future
    • several field days held on grazing properties
    • new tools for producers including an easy to use stocking rate ready reckoner.

    The project is also achieving significant social outcomes. At the field day at Ametdale in August 2019, the producers that attended ranked their increase in knowledge from 3.7 to 5.5 on a 7-point scale and indicated a score of 4.1 in terms of their likelihood to change the way they manage their herd and pasture as a result of attending the day. The rankings show the value of on-farm demonstrations to increase knowledge and change attitudes.  

    Grassroots project

    Resource Consulting Services (RCS) has worked with 25 grazing businesses in the Fitzroy and Mackay Whitsunday regions to reduce soil and particulate nutrient losses into waterways and improve their business through the Grassroots Project. RCS provides skills training and tailored grazing management advice on practices to suit individual circumstances. Graziers could also access a $10,000 grant for property remediation works. The project is funded through the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program.

    By taking a whole-of-business approach, RCS has worked with local graziers to achieve significant ecological and economic outcomes over the reporting period. Practices include closer monitoring of paddocks, using forage budgets, sufficient resting of paddocks for improving pasture growth and matching stocking rates to the carrying capacity of the land.  In many cases, more watering points were installed, and fences built for greater control of cattle to mitigate against over-grazing areas in paddocks.

    Graziers cited improvements in land condition including greater ground cover, better quality pastures, and healthier soils that are better able to capture rain, grow pasture and produce healthy animals. Better land condition has meant a more resilient production base, improving enterprise sustainability as well as enhancing soil retention and reducing risk of soils being lost in rainfall run-off to rivers and streams flowing to the Great Barrier Reef – a win for the producer and the Reef.

    The project is also reporting significant social outcomes. A late 2018 survey of landholders involved in the project found that:

    • The main motivations for being involved in Grassroots were gaining education, tools, and expert advice; improving business profitability and property production; as well as concern for the environment.
    • Property and environmental improvements were the most common benefits identified by participating graziers.

    To hear more about why one particular grazing family got involved in the project, watch this video. To find more information about the project, please visit the RCS website.

    Forage budgets

    Stella and Darryl Baulch of Riverslea.

    Delivered by the Central Highlights Regional Resources Use Planning Cooperative Limited (CHRRUP), this project provides a forage budgeting and land condition assessment service to grazing land managers, delivered by fellow graziers, in the Fitzroy region. Forage budgeting is a valuable land management tool to determine stocking rates that help to achieve better outcomes for pasture and soil condition and water quality for the Great Barrier Reef.

    Between 2018 and 2019, the project achieved significant outcomes including:

    • training three local ‘champion’ graziers to deliver forage budget services
    • delivering one-on-one forage budgeting services by the champions to 14 graziers in the Fitzroy region
    • establishing photo-monitoring sites across the 14 properties involved.

    In addition, the project has reported several social outcomes as well as enhanced social networks. A survey conducted in 2019 with some of the graziers involved in the project found that:

    • 70% gathered a medium to high amount of new knowledge from their property visits
    • 100% will continue to forage budget every year
    • 80% said the service was highly valuable.

    This project has allowed the Baulchs from Riverslea to improve their overall plans for their property and increase their skills in grazing management to suit their desired lifestyle, climate and land types. To learn more about the forage budget service and the benefits graziers have received as part of the project, you can read these case studies from Riverslea and Barfield Station.

    This project was funded through the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program. It is expected to finish in 2021. More information can be found by visiting CHRRUP’s website.