Springsure graziers lead in best management practice

Adele and Dave O’Connor were the first graziers in Queensland to gain Grazing Best Management Practice (BMP) accreditation and are now the first to be renewed.

Adele and David first got involved in the BMP program in 2010 and were part of a group of ten producers who trialled the original modules.

Since that time they have grown from strength to strength and come back for a second audit to gain a renewed accreditation. This shows the benefits of BMP accreditation to graziers, with the O’Connor’s now gaining access to new markets.

Adele O’Connor’s family have held the property ‘Mountain View’ near Springsure for over 100 years. The 6474ha (16,00ac) property is used as a breeding and fattening operation and is currently stocked with 600 head of cattle, which includes 300 breeders.

“The BMP modules cover a wide range of topics and over the years we have found them to be really useful.  So we had no hesitation in going back this year to complete our second accreditation process, which is required every three years,” said Adele.

“Not only have we learnt more about our land and how to plan grazing management, but we have been able to collect the evidence required for animal welfare and grazing land management practices that are required for organic certification and we now have a doorway into this market.”

Being accredited as organic producers has allowed the family to supply the premium organic market with beef, as well as supplying local buyers with organic lamb.

Traditionally the property has run Poll Hereford cattle, with the younger generation of the family introducing Bos indicus bulls including Brahmans and Brafords to increase the tick resistance of the breeders. This has assisted in the property gaining its organic status, as well as the adoption of rotational grazing helping to break the tick cycle.

Dave O’Connor said they developed the time controlled grazing system about five years ago and since adopting this grazing system, the ground cover has been consistently over 83% across all land types on the property.

“Steers are turned off at 500kg with milk to two teeth to AOM (Australian Organic Meats), as well as heifers that fail to conceive a calf. The cattle are mainly managed in one or two mobs, with dry cattle being separated from the breeder mob at pregnancy testing,” said Dave.

“Land condition is monitored and assessed when cattle are moved from each paddock. The aim is to keep the land condition in B condition, with eroded areas fenced off to ensure that the ground cover re-establishes and does not occur any more damage. Grazing charts are also used as a tool to pasture budget into the future. Approximately 90-100 spell days are implemented between grazing cycles for paddocks.

“Since becoming involved in grazing BMP seven years ago, we have seen our business expand into a number of new markets. By utilising the tools we have gained through BMP we are also able to identify future growth opportunities and plan and budget accordingly.”

Graziers who want to utilise the Grazing BMP accreditation have to benchmark themselves against industry standard. Once achieved it helps graziers with supply chain opportunities and it provides formal recognition that the business and natural resources are being managed to a high standard.

Queensland graziers can call on tel: 07 3238 6042 or access the program at: https://www.bmpgrazing.com.au/audit/public/default.aspx