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Exploring innovative grazing and soil health

Grazing management tour participantsNorth Coast farmers recently had the opportunity to improve their knowledge of grazing and soil health management practices on a three-day field tour organised and hosted by North Coast Local Land Services.

North Coast Local Land Services is helping farmers grow their knowledge through advice, information, training and networking with the objective of growing overall farm productivity.

Geoff LeMessurier, Senior Land Services Officer, who accompanied the tour, said “The best way for people to learn new information is to experience it first-hand and this was a great opportunity for farmers to see innovative practices in action and be able to discuss its implementation with the farmer.

“Better informed decisions help farmers balance production, profit and sustainability and we’re helping farmers discover new ways to improve their business through field days and tours such as these.” he said.

The tour visited four farming enterprises including a 400 ha organic beef farm at Grafton; a 100 ha Angus stud at Ghinni Ghi; biochar, compost and SOFT fertiliser production at Mallanganee and a 1000 ha beef producer at Tullymorgan.

Geoff said, “The local farmers enjoyed themselves on the tour, with plenty of conversations while visiting farms and into the evening, especially with regards to the usefulness or otherwise of certain pasture species.”

“The most rewarding part of the tour was the wonderful opportunity to meet and hear from fellow farmers who willingly welcomed us onto their farms to discuss their successful farm management practices” commented Sally Marsh, one of the touring farmers.

“Most explained their initial attempts to change management practices did not go exactly to plan, but that with experience and knowledge and the courage to continue, they have improved productivity significantly over the years.” Sally continued.

Grazing management farm tourThe farmers also saw innovative electric fencing practices, heard about the agronomic and stock health benefits of biochar, and witnessed the significant stock health benefits flowing on from improved holistic grazing management and soil health practices.

Geoff said, “The farmers who participated have now expressed their willingness to trial some organic treatments for buffalo fly and tick management, the necessity to provide shade for stock especially in high temperatures and the importance of clean and plentiful stock water for high productivity; they learnt more about the information required to make management  decisions on grazing and pasture management such as when to graze, when to remove stock or when to take the opportunity to conserve feed into hay, silage or haylage and there were many other ‘sprinkles of gold’ as one farmer put it.”

These are just some of the topics of interest that will be followed up by the continuing Grazing and Soil Health Management Project being delivered by North Coast Local Land Services over the next two years with funding provided from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

Geoff concluded, “The group was extremely appreciative of the time and knowledge provided by the farm hosts and they look forward to the opportunity to trial and implement some of their new found knowledge on their own farms in the Macleay and Hastings.”

Media contact:

Geoff LeMessurier, Senior Land Services Officer, Phone 6563 6717

Photo captions x 2:

Farmers who participated in the North Coast Local Land Services Grazing Management tour