Smart farm­ing lifts hope

Good sea­son is a bonus

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

IN ALL of Bruce Burn­ham’s 66 years on the land, the out­look for farm­ers has never been this good.

The sea­sons see­saw­ing be­tween flood and drought the past cou­ple of years have mel­lowed and beef prices are sky­rock­et­ing.

“It’s a nice change,” Mr Burn­ham said.

“I haven’t struck a sum­mer this good in all the time I’ve been here.”

But Mr Burn­ham’s op­ti­mism stems not only from the good weather.

“We have im­proved man­age­ment tech­niques.

“This meant the coun­try re­sponded re­ally well once the drought broke. We have bet­ter grasses com­ing back, even go­ing through our for­est coun­try.”

Peter Jamieson is another Monto landowner mak­ing the most of the good sea­son.

“Peo­ple use this time now as a nur­tur­ing time,” Mr Jamieson said.

“Be­cause re­ally, the next drought starts the mo­ment it stops rain­ing.”

He said two aims for farm­ers right now would be to build up their cat­tle herds again and re­store their va­ri­eties of grass species.

Dur­ing the drought many farm­ers off­loaded cat­tle they no longer had the re­sources to look after.

“Sell it or smell it, that’s an old coun­try say­ing we have,” Mr Jamieson said.

“Fe­male breeder cat­tle could soon be hard to ac­cess as peo­ple look to build up their herds again.”

But cat­tle need to be fed, so al­low­ing grass species time to re­ju­ve­nate is first on the list of many pro­duc­ers.

“You need lots of va­ri­eties of grasses be­cause they all peak at dif­fer­ent times. Lots of peo­ple don’t like sabi grass for ex­am­ple, but I’ve seen cat­tle eat it and it comes up quickly after

Peter Jamieson Over­stock­ing ... that’s when you start to lose th­ese va­ri­eties.

rain,” he said. “Na­tive blue­grass is just about the best nu­tri­tion you can get around here, and li­v­erseed grass has about as high a pro­tein as lucerne in the right con­di­tions. They are both start­ing to come back.

“Over­stock­ing is the big­gest crime be­cause that’s when you start to lose th­ese va­ri­eties.”

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

WEL­COME RAIN: Monto farmer Peter Jamieson said the sea­son had been so good “you can hear the grass grow­ing”.

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