Duke's Plain, Theodore, Queensland, Australia
The paper begins with a brief outline of old management practices including: land clearing, introduced pastures, fire, high external inputs, focus on animal genetics and individual animal performance, high cost of production, acceptance of 'run-down' in the natural resource base and continuous grazing. The focus on production has been detrimental to soil fertility and has led to drastic modification of landscapes.
Secondly, an outline of the replacement management practices, which incorporate: timber retention, focus on native pastures, pasture diversity, nil fire, focus on kilograms produced per hectare and low cost of production, is presented. The new management package has led to an improving natural resource base, through Cell Grazing, a method that incorporates rest and whole system management.
Finally, an outline is included of the results we have been able to achieve in a relatively short time at 'Duke's Plain'. Specific results include: improvement to the natural resource through more diverse pastures, improved water quality, better water-use efficiency, increased carrying capacity, easier animal management, reduced labour requirement, more trees and fewer weeds. Our performance is benchmarked annually against that of other graziers.
In conclusion, I challenge all of us to question the 'conventional wisdom' of our old systems.