Crop­ping on mine land

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­ Brand In­sights is spon­sored con­tent.

WHEN mus­ter­ing some pad­docks, Steve Er­bacher can watch big trucks as part of the op­er­a­tions in the pit at New Acland Mine.

That’s be­cause the ex­pe­ri­enced mixed-en­ter­prise farm man­ager over­sees Acland Pas­toral Com­pany’s cat­tle and crop­ping, some of which is un­der­taken on re­ha­bil­i­tated mine land right up against the func­tion­ing coal mine north-west of Oakey.

This week the Ru­ral Weekly caught up with the Acland Pas­toral Com­pany man­ager to get a snapshot into the com­pany’s crop­ping busi­ness.

Mr Er­bacher, who started his role with Acland Pas­toral Com­pany in De­cem­ber last year, said he has been greeted with good sea­sonal con­di­tions so far.

“We have had a rea­son­able sum­mer, it was a late start to the sum­mer, with be­low av­er­age rain in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. It was be­low av­er­age, but it was a lot bet­ter than a lot of other places,” he said. “In March we had 230mm for the month, which is above av­er­age and a bit out of sea­son, hence the late sum­mer.

“That has put us in a great shape for the win­ter, we are car­ry­ing a good body of feed – we will have no prob­lem get­ting through the win­ter with­out any ad­di­tional rain­fall.”

With a team of two sta­tion hands, the bulk of Mr Er­bacher’s daily task in­volves stock work.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of the op­er­a­tion is cat­tle, and we have a small amount of crop­ping,” he said. “The crop­ping is only silage and, hay pro­duc­tion as well as for­age crop­ping for cat­tle to graze on.”

Re­cently, Mr Er­bacher and his team shifted 800 wean­ers on to an oats crop that was planted in April. Last year about 4300 tonnes of bar­ley and corn was har­vested. The bulk of what’s cropped is used for Acland’s cat­tle, but some is sold off to lo­cal farm­ers.

“We grew 780 tonnes of silage corn un­der the pivot, which is a 25 hectare pivot, in the sum­mer just gone,” he said. “That was planted in mid-De­cem­ber, and we har­vested at the end of March. 180 tonnes went to a lo­cal dairy farm­ers.”

New Acland Pas­toral Com­pany uses wa­ter, which is all pumped through a 47km pipe­line con­structed by the com­pany from We­talla Waste­water Recla­ma­tion Fa­cil­ity.

“The wa­ter is pri­mar­ily used as the sole source of process wa­ter for the New Acland Mine” he said.

Mr Er­bacher has man­aged large mixed en­ter­prise prop­er­ties be­fore, look­ing af­ter Tar­coola and Mar­line, Anna Park and Rock­dale which cov­ered about 13,000 hectares, but he ad­mit­ted he had never had a mine site as a neigh­bour.

“We can see the mine and see the pit, it doesn’t af­fect our busi­ness at all.” PHOTO: VANESSA KERTON

IN THE THICK OF IT: Steve Er­bacher, man­ager of Acland Pas­toral Com­pany near Oakey.

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