Smart farming lifts hope
Good season is a bonus
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.”
WELCOME RAIN: Monto farmer Peter Jamieson said the season had been so good “you can hear the grass growing”.