Mobbing and moo-ving cattle is key - Charters Towers graziers improving their land and the Reef

Issued: 18 May 2021

Emma Robinson and Michael Duckett
Graziers Emma Robinson and Michael Duckett

Graziers Emma Robinson and Michael Duckett (see picture) are improving the quality of their land and the productivity of their cattle, while also helping to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Their 54,500 hectare property is located two hours south of Charters Towers.

They 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 Robinson said they have focused on some areas of their land that were scalded and where the soil was compacted.

“We’re in the process of improving these areas to increase the quantity and diversity of grass across the property with the aim of 100 per cent ground cover,” she said.

“For us, it’s about matching the number of cattle in our paddocks to the available grass.

“We complete a grass budget to help us identify how long cattle can stay in each paddock.

“We have our cattle in large mobs, so they are only covering a small percentage of the property at any one time.

“This approach helps us to protect our ground cover, promote new growth and ensure we are resting country to avoid degradation”.

“Maximising our ground cover for the cattle has an incredible flow on effect.

“More grass means better productivity, better nutrition for the animals which improves animal fertility and weight gain.

“This also means when it does rain, the soil captures more of the rainfall and that means less water running into the river system and then into the Great Barrier Reef.

“Essentially, the more grass the better.”

Ms Robinson said she was starting to see results with measured improvements to their ground cover across the property.

“We are also seeing benefits in our cattle performance,” she said.

“It’s great to see our team’s hard work coming to fruition not only improving the productivity of Caerphilly 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.”

Read more information on the GRASS program.