Toughest land management challenges facing Southern Downs
AFTER receiving funding for their natural sequence farming project, the Condamine Headwaters Landcare Group will be helping farmers regenerate their land.
The group's coordinator Tanya Jobling said the Southern Downs faced a number of challenges in terms of land management.
One key issue Ms Jobling identified was the loss of pasture cover.
With the region in the grips of drought, healthy patches of grass are nearly impossible to find but Ms Jobling said pasture management was key for preparing land for when the rain does come.
"Grass holds the water when it comes, without grass it washes away the soil and much less is kept,” she said.
Ms Jobling said the three strategies for maintaining pasture cover were planned grazing, rotated grazing and destocking if the land was already too damaged.
"Stock needs to be moved around the property so grass has time to regenerate,” she said.
"Most landowners act to protect their stock, but not their pasture.”
Another key issue was riparian management.
Landowners have a multitude of uses for waterways that run through their property but Ms Jobling said they could produce a number of problems.
She said different landowners can have conflicting uses for the waterways.
"A farmer who wants their cattle to graze on the waterway whereas a conservationist will want to protect the banks,” she said.
Another common issue arises when the waterway marks the boundary between two properties.
"You can't put a fence in the middle of a river, there can be conflict about who gets to utilise the water and how they use it.”
"There are no answers for this scenario but landowners need to come together to manage their property.”
Other land issues prominent in the Southern Downs include soil preservation, wildlife conservation and biodiversity remnant protection.
Ms Jobling said the two-year natural sequence farming project would help landowners restore the natural resources on their land.
The project will begin with on-field days at properties who have been using the technique in late October and November.
From there in February 2020 Landcare will host four day training sessions with Stuart Andrews, the son of natural sequence farming pioneer Peter Andrews.
Finally the group will run on-ground works on selected properties later in 2020.
For more information about the project, phone Landcare on 4661 9909.