A group of North and Central Queensland graziers have spent the past three years learning how boosting grazing productivity and minimising soil erosion can go hand in hand.
The Saving our Soils project, led by NRM groups NQ Dry Tropics and Fitzroy Basin Association, supported graziers in the Upper Burdekin and Fitzroy regions to improve business production, enhance land condition and reduce sediment runoff to local waterways and the Great Barrier Reef.
NQ Dry Tropics senior grazing project officer, Linda Anderson, said the project combined whole of enterprise education and training, with support to carry out on-ground works.
"Through the project, 18 graziers, who manage a total of 350,000ha, have been delving into every aspect of their businesses," she said.
"We helped the graziers examine their enterprise's financial and business practices, livestock performance, and grazing management systems.
"We also provided funding to support on-ground intervention in key areas, to keep soil on land, as these properties were located in catchments with a high priority for sediment reduction."
Grazier Nathan Warnock, Calliweera Cattle Company, northwest of Rockhampton, said being part of the project had opened his horizons.
"We've been able to learn about runoff, get support to help rectify the issues and see the results in terms of increased ground cover and retaining that soil," he said.
Grazier Lynda O'Brien, The Brook Station, northwest of Charters Towers, said improving pastures helped prevent runoff to the reef.
"The way we manage our cattle can give us more ground cover, meaning better infiltration when it rains. More pasture for our cattle also allows us to run a more profitable business for our family," she said.
Jo and David Murphy, Clothes Peg Station, between Greenvale and Hughenden, said the project helped them develop strong networks with other graziers.
"The project helped us build resilience and improve our business. We've developed a network that'll get us through the hard times," Mrs Murphy said.
Fitzroy Basin Association senior land manager Reece Brooks said the project investment had achieved wide ranging benefits.
"Saving our Soils delivered 49 regional training events supporting 975 graziers to learn about business, animal welfare and management, soil health, pasture production and grazing management. Participants also co-invested in practice change to improve water quality over 67,000ha," Mr Brooks said.
The Saving our Soils project is funded by the Australian Government Reef Trust and supported by the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program.