GRASS program waters 1500 hectares

Graziers Matt and Kristie Lisle purchased Moonkan Park at Bushley last year and quickly set to work to increase the number of watering points on a large, under-utilised part of the property.

The Grazing Resilience and Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) program gave them the opportunity to have some of their planned work subsidised, allowing for faster access to more pasture for their breeders.

The Lisle family purchased the 4,000 hectare property for their breeding and trading operation, with big plans to increase productivity and sustainability.

The southern end of Moonkan Park was already mostly fenced to land type, with four large paddocks making up more than 1,500 hectares. These paddocks consisted largely of a narrow-leaved ironbark woodland ridge, with foothills of silver-leaved ironbark on duplex soils. No permanent water source was located in any of these paddocks, so cattle had to walk back to a laneway or yards to drink. Over time, this had caused the foothill country to be heavily grazed and dominated by annual grasses and weeds, whilst further up the ridge, preferred dense black speargrass and buffel grass were completely untouched.

The Lisles contacted the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to enquire about any projects or services available to assist with property management and sustainable grazing practices. Beef extension officer Kylie Hopkins was keen to assist them with their plans.

“We knew that there was under-utilised pasture on the ridge, but also the low ground cover on the foothills was posing a huge erosion risk for a land type with a sodic subsoil. It was a priority for us to stop the degradation of the lower country,” Matt Lisle said.

“We had already invested in a large solar pump for a new bore, so had next planned to put several water tanks and gravity-fed troughs in the ridge country to more evenly distribute grazing.”

A successful application for an incentive project with the GRASS program allowed part of this work to be subsidised.

“We have used the GRASS funding to assist with laying several kilometres of poly pipe, some tanks and troughs, and strategically placing woah boys on our new tracks,” said Kristie Lisle.

“Now we can allow the lower country around the original watering points to recover, while cattle can happily graze the large body of feed up the slope. It’s important to us to maintain the condition of the country, particularly on the ridge, and these new watering points allow us to do that sustainably.”

The GRASS program has helped to strengthen an already existing relationship that the Lisle’s had with DAF extension staff.

“We know that we can ring Kylie with all sorts of questions, and she will always pick up the phone and point us in the right direction. We’ve talked a lot (with Kylie) about property planning, pasture management and weed control.”

The GRASS program is funded by the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science and has funding available for graziers in the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Burnett Mary regions to subsidise land management practices that promote good ground cover.

If you would like any more information on the GRASS program, please contact GRASS program leader Matt Brown (DAF) on 0428 104 248.