Infrastructure Development & Environment | bbrc

Infrastructure Development – a unique and differentiating strategic focus

The Infrastructure Development Program that has been deployed at Beetaloo, OT Downs and Mungabroom (and will be deployed at Amungee Mungee) has been used as a case study in a four year independent research project, creating guidelines for the development of extensive cattle stations in Northern Australia. The project was a joint venture between the following government, educational and industry bodies:

What is the Infrastructure Development Program?

The key premise of the Infrastructure Development Program is that cattle should not have to walk more than 2km for water. Traditional techniques that have few bores and ‘turkey nest’ earth tanks at various locations across stations do not allow for maximum land usage, as cattle end up staying close to water points, leaving large amounts of land without grazing between water points. Clicking here . . . will show you images taken of Beetaloo in a government study showing how grass 3km away from a watering point is effectively ungrazed. Even if they walk further, we believe that weight is not gained thus eliminating any benefit. This observation has been substantiated by the government led research report referenced above.

As a result, we have deployed an ambitious program of installing new water points and smaller paddocks (3.3km by 3.3km of approximately 6,000 cattle with frequent 3 day turns), as demonstrated below:

Source: Meat & Livestock Australia, June 2013

To conduct the Infrastructure Development Program, significant investment is needed in both water and fencing. BBRC Beef is committed to carry out this investment given the proven results seen to date.

The Barkly Tableland has the geological criteria which permits our program. The main reasons being the shallow aquifers enable cost efficient access to water, and the reduced flooding in the wet season allows fencing development to stay in place without being damaged.

What are the benefits of this Infrastructure Development Program?

The key benefit of the Program is that it enables a significant increase in carrying capacity, allowing more cattle to be managed on a smaller land area thus more efficient land usage. More water points reduces the need for cattle to walk to get a drink, which helps weight gain and furthermore the efficiency of the farming operation. Additional benefits have been seen in relation to calving rates, and mortality rates, as well as demonstrated environmental benefits as explored below in relation to soil quality, grass quality and reduced need for burning.

“An innovative vision for grazing…..The experience on Beetaloo Station has demonstrated that cattle production can be significantly increased in northern Australia by providing adequate water supply to areas with grazing potential.” Soils For Life report, Outcomes Australia Project, 2012

We believe our Infrastructure Development Program represents a game changer in northern Australian cattle farming.

Click here . . . . . for more photos of our Infrastructure Development in action.

Environment

  • BBRC Beef is passionate about environmental regeneration and sustainable management practices within Northern Territory cattle farming. We are conscious that the land we, and our partners own, specifically wetland and waterholes, support significant biodiversity included pelicans, ducks and brolgas, as well as wedge-tail eagles, kites and other raptors.
  • Infrastructure development approach explained above has a number of environmental benefits relative to traditional open pasture cattle farming:
    • Dramatic increase in pasture availability
    • Soil health (reduced degradation) and plant regeneration through reduced grazing in the same place
    • Reduced burning due to frequent animal impact on the grasses
    • Reduced water wastage through evaporation from troughs
  • In addition our ethos is to use minimal chemical or artificial inputs.
  • The positive impact of these practices on the environment have been recognised and published in the Soils For Life Program 2012, an Outcomes Australia Project funded by the Federal Government’s “Caring for Our Country” initiative

environment

Soils For Life charter

soils

Source: Soils for Life report, 2012
(an Outcomes Australia Project)