Dalrymple Landcare

2018 AGM & 30th Anniversary Celebrations

DLC AGM 2018

2014 City-Country day

City-Country Day 2014

Charters Towers people and their friends visited progressive farming and grazing families in their paddocks. It was not only a chance to see rural businesses at work it, but an opportunity to se the landscapes that they are also stewarding. Flora, fauna, geological and historical.

“Annavale” owned and operated by Peter and Sue Hammer and staff was the chance to visit an irrigation farm on the Burdekin river that grows fodder and grain that is fed in their feedlot which is stocked with their own and custom fed cattle A new feedlot of greater capacity is under construction. A commercial cattle herd supplies stock to the feedlot and bulls are sold from the stud herds. This was an opportunity for people to understand the critical timeliness and technology required to maintain a modern day supply chain like this. People also were able to see the runways and facilities that remain from the WW II Breddan airfield.

“Fletcherview” owned by  James Cook University and managed by Martin Holzwart is a commercial beef breeding and store growing business that supplies stock to trhe domestic and export market and the vet school at JCU. It is also the site of ongoing genetics and supplementary feeding research that will ultimately assist the grazing industry.  Fletcherview is at the end of the youngest lava in Qld; a mere 10,000- 12,000 years old. A pup in geological terms. It is also the site of one of the camps of Ludwig Leichhardt during his 1845 trip. His journals describe “three rocks”, basalt, granite and limestone coming together where he camped. People were able to see this ite.

It is planned to continue the City – Country day which gives those interested the chance to see the country and operations and talk with dynamic people who are passionate about  what they are doing on the land.

Belly ache bush demonstration

Belly ache bush demonstration morning

20 land managers plus technical specialists met at a local weed site along Old Dalrymple Road on Saturday 22 March. While the focus of the demonstration presented by Dalrymple Landcare Committee, Tropical Weeds Research Centre and Charters Towers Regional Council was on the Splatter gun technique for controlling Bellyache Bush, local graziers took the opportunity to discuss current weed issues on their properties. Technical staff spoke of emerging weed problems and methods of control that include biological, chemical and grazing management. Those attending were able to view the results of control work done in the month leading up to the demonstration morning as well as use the tools involved.

The splatter gun technique of weed control involves a targeted application of a low volume, high concentration chemical mix across the leaves of the plant. This technique was developed in the forestry industry for weed control. It has great application because it can to be used in areas that are difficult to access with machinery, operators have a minimal amount of equipment to carry, it reduces the exposure of non-target plants and when used correctly there is less chemical applied. As research progresses more chemicals are being registered for this technique on an increasing list of weeds. In reducing the weed load in our rangelands there is no one technique that suits all applications.

Ultimately to have healthy landscapes, chemical management of weeds is just one of the factors to be considered along with all the management practices involving land management. Dalrymple Landcare Committee continues to advocate for this holistic approach to land management.

These informal gatherings are proving an ideal forum for land managers and technical staff to share ideas and opinions with each other and generally broaden the knowledge pool.

Two lucky draw winners each received a manual splatter gun donated by DLC. The winners of these were, Helen Olsen of “Whynot “ and Terry Davis of “Grass Hut”.

Qld Landcare conference

2013 Queensland Landcare Conference

Warwick turned on the heat for the 250 attendees at the Queensland State Landcare Conference, hosted by the Condamine Headwaters Landcare group on 27, 28, 29 September. We drove out of Charters Towers at a balmy 35 degrees to arrive in Warwick for a couple of40 degree days. Feed supplies were certainly better as we moved south and east in spite of the large fires burning in areas of the central highlands.

The theme of the conference was “Healthy habitats- profitable production” and all speakers addressed aspects of this theme. Proceedings are here.

Key note speakers were;

Julian Cribb, author, journalist, science communicator started proceeding with a presentation that highlighted the challenges of feeding an increasing population that is living longer and has a higher expectation of dietary choice from a land resource base that is disappearing through desertification and soil nutrient loss with less water available for irrigation due to competition from cities, mining and declining aquifers at a time when we are approaching peak oil and artificial fertilizers, all with less dollars going to agricultural research.

Major General Michael Jeffery, chairman of Soils for Life, spoke of soils as strategic national assets and how they need to be managed in an integrated way across the continent; maintaining a landscape that is fit for purpose.

Dr Nancy Schellhorn, head of the Spatial Ecology team at CSIRO promoted of the concept and development of Pest Suppressive Landscapes; a way of designing and managing agricultural landscape mosaics for productivity and biodiversity and how these are mutually beneficial to each other. Some of this harks back to the old land management of 1/3 pasture, 1/3 crop, 1/3 woodland not only at a property level but at a regional level.

Terry McCosker, director of RCS and Carbon Link Limited brought us up to date methodology that can now very accurately measure and map soil carbon. The problem of variability in measurements has been overcome and while still requiring intensive soil mapping, technological improvement is moving at a fast rate and the ability to remote soil carbon mapping is not far away. These technological advances are also highlighting that there is more carbon in the top 1 metre of soil than all terrestrial life and the atmosphere combined and that with correct management the potential to store more carbon in many of our soils is huge. In some grazing situations the potential gross margins/ha from carbon storage will exceed those of the livestock. Some of the challenges will be changes to government policy on carbon pricing and duration of storage.

Shane Joyce, grazier and Carbon Cocky of the year described how he and his wife Shan  designed,  manage and monitor for robust productivity and excellent landscape and diversity outcomes.

Bill Gammage, adjunct professor in Humanities at Australian National University spoke of the aboriginal management of the Australian landscape pre 1788 and their use of fire to design and maintain it for their needs. He further argues this theory in his book “The Biggest estate on Earth”.

Georgie Somerset, President of the Qld Rural, Regional and Remote Womens Network addressed “what is profit?”. Profit in the bank balance, people and the landscape and maintaining the resilience in all is critical.

In addition to the key note speakers there were concurrent sessions that covered a multitude of topics;

  • land management in the desert uplands and coastal dunes all needing to   engage communities,
  • vegetation policy changes,
  • challenges of plant and animal pests arriving in all forms of transport in an increasingly globalized world and managing pests at the local level,
  • mining and coal seam gas impacts and working with miners,
  • healthy and resilient soils, landscapes and people,
  • catchment management and NRM groups,
  • integrated production systems, crops, grazing, environment
  • stream bed erosion as key threatening process
  • designing balanced productive landscapes
  • habitat protection and rehabilitation for the community and wee beasties.
  • cultivating  and respecting the diversity of people and views within communities and keeping the doors open for when people are ready to walk through.

Participants had a selection field trips and on site workshops on the Saturday afternoon. These included biodynamics, soil health, holistic management, conservation farming, rainforest regeneration, indigenous culture and a visit to Alora Mt.

The conference closed with a themed panel session, “Think globally, act locally”  where speakers and the audience discussed about how at a local level we can influence the bigger sphere and vice versa.

The conference highlighted for me what a broad church Landcare is, from tie dye, beads and cheese-cloth (with a hint damp sheep), through double pocket shirts and RM Williams skirts to pin striped suits and political views more diverse than the modes of attire. All were there with the common ideal that the land and how we care and use it, does matter and that we are all part of it and in spite of differences there is more to unite us than divide us.

DLC thanks NQ Dry Tropics for the sponsorship from the Regional Facilitators fund that assisted with the conference costs.

    Fanning River Project

    Fanning River WONS project well on track

    Funding provided by Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection through the Everyone’s Environment grant program has allowed land holders in the Fanning river catchment to treat a wide variety of Weeds of National Significance (WONS). This has been in addition to  their regular weed management programs. The Fanning river group successfully applied for funding in round one that sought applications for projects that controlled pest and weeds and restored degraded landscapes amongst other project objectives.

    To date, 1350 hectares of country has been treated for lantana, bellyache bush, parkinsonia, rubber vine and other associated weeds. With the weeds cleared and grazing management in place landholders are expecting an increase in desirable native pasture species. An additional benefit of this project will be improved quality of runoff water that leaves the landscape. Monitoring is in place to track and record changes in the country as a result of the project. These type of projects minimize the impact of weeds in the grazing environment and help to reduce further spread. This has productivity benefits to graziers and a huge environmental benefits to the wider community through improved biodiversity landcsape health and water quality to the Great Barrier Reef. Graziers have done well to continue with the project given the declining season and plan to have the project finished by the end of the year and reported to DEHP by late February 2014. Graziers who understand and are committed to maintaining and improving landscape health welcome the assistance that is available through funding avenues such as Everyone’s Environment grant program of the Queensland Government.

      Soil Health for grazing

      Soil Health for Grazing

      35 people from grazing, mining environmental, grazing extension, research and field officers attended the two one day workshops held at “Mt Ravenswood” (south of Ravenswood) and Lowholm (north of Pentland). Bruce Alchin, with many years experience in extension, research and education in the rangelands presented the training. Participants, some of whom had travelled for 3-4 hours to attend, left with greater knowledge of the properties of the soils in their paddocks and how management has such an impact upon the function below ground of soil life, organic content and water infiltration and retention. The importance soil life in a healthy grazing system and how a well managed grazing system can be at least carbon neutral.

      A highlight of the days was the soil pit work where participants were able to look at soil profiles and how the physical and chemical properties of the soils changed down the profile. Mt Ravenswood on red goldfields and Lowholm on the basalt provided a look at quite contrasting soils.

      NQ Dry tropics contributed a significant amount of funding toward the cost of the days that were co-hosted with DLC. We thank John and Jess Rich of Mt Ravenswood and Russ and Julia Broad of Lowholm for the efforts they put into preparations and catering.

        Grazing BMP

        DLC land managers complete their Grazing

        Best Management Practice (Grazing BMP)

        Five Dalrymple region businesses have now completed their Grazing BMP. QDAFF staff presented the final module, “People and Business”, at a morning workshop in Charters Towers on the 26th of July. The guest speaker at the morning was James Cupples of Farmsafe Queensland, who spoke of about the workplace health and safety obligations of property managers. This was a very informative session. In addition to those completing 5 other businesses started the 5 module process. The other modules in the BMP are Soil Health, Grazing Land Management, Animal Health and Animal Welfare.

        This BMP is grazing industry initiative and was developed by industry, Fitzroy Basin Authority and DAFF, for industry. The process enables producers to assess their management practices and put in place plans to improve them where necessary. This can assist with business productivity and profitability and demonstrate that sustainable and ethical land and animal management practices are used in the grazing lands.

        The next presentation of the BMP will be at “Rangeview”, Ravenswood on 7 August. Information days are planned for Pentland on 3 Sept, and Greenvale on 5 Sept.

        Southern X project funded

        Southern Cross Landcare Group

        has received funding from the Australian Government, Caring For Our Country programme. The Southern Cross application was one of four applications lodged. The others were unfortunately unsuccessful.

        Australia wide groups lodged applications worth $38 million for the $10 million of funds available. The funding for the Southern Cross project will go toward upon reducing the Weeds of National Significance (WONS) infestations within the creek catchment.

        The scope of this project is from “Jesmond” in the headwaters to “Barkla” downstream, “Centauri” to the West and Featherby Wall in the East. This project needs to be completed by 31 December 2014.

        Contact is being made with landholders in the catchment.  Contact DLC co-ordinator if interested in being involved.

          Grazing BMP

          Grazing Best Management Practice (Grazing BMP)

          Dalrymple Landcare hosted the first of the Grazing BMP workshops for the Burdekin region in Charters Towers last week. 12 participants from 7 businesses attended the 2 days.

          4 modules of the 5 modules that cover land, livestock and business management were completed.  These were, Soils, Grazing Land Management, Animal Production and Animal Welfare. A People and Business module will be available later shortly.

          Presented by Matt Brown and Jo Gangemi  from Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Rockhampton and Biloela) and with technical support from soils specialist, Bruce Alchin and animal welfare and production specialist Steve Banney, participants had the opportunity to self assess their current management practices against industry “best practice” benchmarks. This will enable them to identify opportunities to improve performance as well as access information and support.

          The Grazing BMP has been developed through a partnership of grazing industry representatives, DAFF and Fitzroy Basin Association to enable individual producers to improve production and profitability while allowing industry to demonstrate and meet consumer and  wider community expectations of ethical, sustainable food production.

          The rollout of the Grazing BMP will continue throughout the Burdekin region with facilitators from DAFF, NQ Dry Tropics and Agforce delivering  workshop mode while “at home, on line access” will be available in the future.

          Further info at Agforce Grazing BMP info line: 0732386048 or look about at: www.bmpgrazing.com.au

            DEHP visit

            Visit from Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

            Senior staff of DEHP and members of the Reef Water Quality team visited Charters Towers last week. Some of the RWQ grazing team members sat in as observers to the Grazing BMP workshop on Monday and Tuesday while the others visited the “Wambiana” trial site and “Spyglass” research station. At a BBQ on the Monday night they were meet by DLC members, DAFF staff and other interested parties. This provided a informal atmosphere for some quite serious discussions about grazing management, environmental sustainability, biodiversity, water quality and the political machinations that can go with the mix. On the Wednesday they visited “Mt Owenee” Station, owned and operated by Doug and Zoe O’Neill.
            During this visit they were able to see the regenerative results of  strategic grazing management that has been implemented following a planned capital development programme. By trebling the amount of water points and constructing some strategic fencing the O’Neills have been able to distribute grazing pressures more evenly and implement a strategic rest plan. This management programme has improved cow condition, reproduction rates and regenerated country at the same time. More kilos per hectare production, reduced cost of production from a smaller herd and improved landscape health to boot.
            As more producers adopt these sort of management practices and it is demonstrated that sustainable profitable grazing does deliver good downstream environmental outcomes, industry has a good story to put to the wider community.
            The DEHP crew departed with a better understanding of the complex issues involved with the grazing industry and that there is innovative work being within the industry.