Charters Towers grazier improoo-ving her land and the Reef

Issued: 14 May 2021

Grazier Kylie Stretton is in the process of converting 1600 hectares of unproductive land into land suitable for her cattle, and she’s achieving this while also helping to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Ms Stretton owns Red Hill Station, a 4,000 hectare property located two hours north of Charters Towers.

She applied for funding through the Grazing Resilience and Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) program which is designed to deliver support and a tailor-made action plan for land management to address land in a poor or degraded condition.

Ms Stretton said 1600 hectares of her land wasn’t ideal for her cattle as it had little ground cover and was gullying.

“The funding will help to improve the condition of the land, improve the ground cover, and slow down the water to allow the grass to grow,” she said.

“The impact and importance of slowing the water down is of utmost importance on a livestock farm as it contributes towards the growth of more grass which is key for the sustainability of my business and the environment.

“Red Hill is named after a tableland mountain that runs through the middle of the place, and while it is mostly flat on top, its edges are extremely steep escarpments.

“We found when it rained, the water ran across the top of the hill and cascaded off the edges, resulting in extremely bad gullying and erosion in the lower country, as well as scalding the ground on top of the hill.

“With the support of the GRASS program, we were able to build a complex system of contour banks on the hill above the worst of the gullying to assist in slowing the water down, and allowing it to soak into the high ground and seep out down the edges slowly.

“We also ripped the bare ground to allow for more absorption and planted grass seed to aid the process.

“This allows for more ground cover to grow on top and down below, and helps maintain our topsoil and rehydrate our land.

“The process of rehabilitating the land will take a couple of years with the priority focus on slowing the spread of erosion so it doesn’t keep expanding and swallowing up more of the property.”

Ms Stretton said she was starting to see results with the contours slowing the water coming off the hill, allowing new growth to break through across the affected areas.

“It’s great to see our hard work coming to fruition not only improving the productivity of Red Hill Station, but the added benefit of knowing we’re reducing the impact of run off into the catchments which then flow into the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.

“I hope other graziers will see the work we’re achieving, with the assistance of the GRASS program, and put in place these measures so we can improve our farms while also taking care of the Reef.”

More information on Red Hill Station is available on Facebook.