Maranoa graziers find common ground on a landscape sale

June 12, 2017


Download the release here. Pictured are Jo Caskey, QMDC's Sarah Brookes and Sharni Blackney.

A grazier can never stop learning, especially in an age where business plans are increasingly confounded by unpredictable weather patterns, and deadly, invasive pests and weeds.

This is some of the key feedback to Grazing BMP field days currently underway in the Maranoa as part of the Queensland Government’s Drought Resilience Project supported by QMDC.

Reflecting on her first ever Grazing BMP workshop, Mitchell grazier Jo Caskey said it was “mind-blowing” how far the beef industry had come in terms of animal reproduction science and its application in the field to improve ground cover.

“What we’ve learned about animal reproduction and what’s achievable now is incredible, it’s running your property as a business, looking at cows less emotionally, and challenging ideas from the past,” Mrs Caskey said.

“We went out of beef because of drought and we’re just going back into it trying to get our numbers up to around 1000 cows, so perhaps then we could be better placed to implement some of those ideas, but as they say, there’s no time like now.”

For the past 20 years Jo and husband Tim have run a feral goat trading business on Budgeri and Avalon as well as a small number of sheep which they would like to increase alongside their beef herd.

With the properties in the Maranoa River catchment, the family joined a Sub-catchment planning group facilitated by QMDC that aims to address some of the challenges in common they face with neighbours.

QMDC Land and Water Regional Coordinator Vanessa Macdonald said the group of 13 people had developed a landscape-scale plan to manage weeds, feral animals, groundcover and to enhance natural biodiversity.

“To build on this plan the group undertook two Grazing BMP modules - People and Business, and Animal Production - to identify and confirm areas where they needed information or to adopt practice changes.

“These learnings will not only improve their natural resource management outcomes but will also help them meet industry standards,” she said.

Mrs Caskey said the group had become an important mechanism in bringing neighbours together on a more formal basis.

“The benefit for me is improving and continuing education and support around weeds and pest management, and climate issues - with my community. It allows you to communicate more effectively about our local issues as everyone has the chance to have a say, it’s just not the same in a social situation,” she said.

The next Grazing BMP workshop offered through this project will be held on 16 June in Surat.

This series of Grazing BMP workshops is supported by QMDC through funding from the Queensland Government’s Drought Resilience Project. 

Media contacts: QMDC Regional Communication Officer Donna Hurley, ph 0427 749 436

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