Minnie Vale field day puts spotlight on erosion

A field day for landholders and stakeholders dedicated to reducing soil erosion on farming properties was held at Minnie Vale Station in the Don River Catchment in North Queensland this week.

Presented by Greening Australia in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Sustainable Productive Pastures II event addressed issues such as understanding soil properties, renovating techniques and pasture and legume varieties specific to Bowen soils, gully remediation work and how reducing erosion can have economic benefits.

It also showcased the gully erosion works of phase two of the Australian Government’s Reef Trust project – The Don River Catchment Sediment Reduction Project – which has been underway in the region for the past two years.

Learnings from this phase will be used in a new phase of Reef Trust work that will restore a further 400ha of high priority eroding gullies in the region over the coming years.

Greening Australia Science and Programs Leader Eastern Region, Dr Lynise Wearne said the field day was an opportunity for landholders and stakeholders to engage, ask questions and look at ways to improve pasture management that would have widespread benefits including reducing the amount of fine sediment that flows through waterways out on to the Great Barrier Reef.

“By working with landholders and stakeholders we can make a significant impact on the quality of water flowing out to the reef,” Dr Wearne said.

“Through innovative techniques in reducing erosion and through strong partnerships, we are making real positive changes that will have widespread impacts at sea.”

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) beef extension officer Jim Fletcher said the

Minnie Vale site was making use of a number of renovation techniques to remediate what had been a fairly run-down paddock of low yield Indian couch.

“The techniques include ripping, offsetting, seeding with pasture and legume varieties, and the use of strategic fertiliser regimes based on geo-referenced soil tests,” Mr Fletcher said.

“We invited a small number of graziers (within the local area) to come and have a look at the initial response to the treatments.

“We are now seeing results with a massive amount of forage being grown – this has actually worked very well and shows the productive potential of the soil.

“This project is all about demonstrating the benefits of adopting best practice management and letting graziers know about the variety of methods available to improve and rehabilitate pasture and subsequently to improve land condition.

“Improved land condition in turn leads to improved business profitability and better environmental outcomes, so it’s a win- win all round.