Cattle, Grass and Trees – Combinations, Pitfalls and Opportunities

Extensive beef production is the single largest land use in Queensland occurring on 65% of the state’s landmass. At the same time there are a lot of trees in Queensland with 50% of the state mapped as remnant vegetation where trees are the dominant plant form.

Therefore for most beef producers in Queensland, a day-to-day aspect of their enterprise involves managing the balance between cattle, grass and trees with this balance being dictated by aspects of ownership (of both the land and the trees), climate, land type, production systems and legislation.

The native forest timber industry is a relatively minor industry in Queensland in both an economic and geographic context. None-the-less, in some regions, it is an important industry. Over 60% of the hardwood log supply in Queensland is sourced from private native forests and most of that from properties where beef production is the primary enterprise and owned by landholders who see themselves as graziers and not foresters. At the same time emerging carbon markets are looking to make use of native forest regrowth on extensive beef properties, potentially competing with the beef enterprise itself or the associated hardwood industry.

In this webinar recording, join Bill Schulke (Forestry Extension Officer – Private Forestry Service Queensland) when he:

  • discusses the combinations of cattle, grass and trees
  • outlines both the positive and negative interactions of trees in a grazing landscape
  • highlight some of the opportunities and pitfalls of the integrated management of a mixed beef and timber enterprise
  • outlines a process for assessing the economic potential for a silvo-pastoral industry.

You can watch the full recording or use the playlist below to jump to the start of a particular section within the presentation. (37:51; published 25 June 2021 by FutureBeefAu).

Download a copy of the presentation – Cattle, grass and trees (PDF; 2.9 MB)

Additional resources:

Full recording


  1. Cattle, Grass and Trees – Combinations, Pitfalls and Opportunities
  2. What will be covered?
  3. What won’t be covered?
  4. Distribution of Australian forest types
  5. Average annual timber production
  6. Queensland hardwood industry
  7. Private Native Forests (PNF) – at a glance
  8. High grading – a form of forest abuse
  9. Silvicultural thinning – a bit of forest lovin’
  10. Response to thinning
  11. 3 broad PNF situations
  12. Silvicultural investment pays for most forest types up to a discount rate of 7.5%
  13. What are the impediments?
  14. Grazed woodlands in Queensland
  15. Impacts of trees on grass
  16. Silvo-pastoralism can be a bit tricky
  17. Looking at the impacts of three management scenarios
  18. Tracking (tree) basal area through time
  19. Commercial volume growth and harvest revenue
  20. Opening up native forest to produce grass for cattle and safe carrying capacities
  21. Carrying capacity examples
  22. Impact of (tree) management on carrying capacity (AE/ha), value of beef production, grazing/timber gross margins
  23. Limitations and assumptions
  24. Conclusion