Regenerative Grazing Monitoring Project December 2020
PermEco Inc. suggested to farmer friends who have recently taken on a 50,000 acre plus cattle station to do monitoring for them. As farmers, they are too busy to be able to do monitoring themselves. Tom and Zaia Kendall went to the cattle station south of Charters Towers late November 2020 to chat with the owners and determine the types of monitoring required on the station.
The property was conventionally managed for a number of years before it was sold around 2 years ago to people wanting to do regenerative grazing there. They were unable to fulfil their dreams for the property, and a few months ago the property was taken on by the current owners. The current owners started straight away putting systems in place which will allow them to manage the cattle in a way where they will hopefully start to regenerate this station. These systems include fencing, having water available in areas where there was previously no water and working out cattle quantities and movement. These farmers have amazing, proven regenerative knowledge and skills, but are very modest in their approach and at this stage would not like anyone to know where the station is and who they are.
The monitoring will be done over at least the next 5 years. Photos of the same sites on the station will be taken twice per year, RAPID tests will be done and we are hoping to collaborate with NQ Dry Tropics to monitor things like water quality and soil carbon content. Satellite photos will be included, as well as Maia Grazing data which shows things like cattle movement, amount of rain, stock purchase / sales etc.
It is important that we collate all this data to ensure we can show not just the benefit of regenerative grazing methods to the soil, but also an increase in productivity. Increases in productivity and thus greater financial returns always encourage people to take on a certain practice.
The end results of this project will be a case study with photos and documentation on this website, an easy to read paper for farmers and a scientific paper for scientific publication (written in co-operation with scientist advisors). All these will be freely available.
Tom will need to go back to the station early 2021 to do the initial RAPID tests. RAPID testing measures the following in the soil: plasticity (clay content), pH, flocculation (dispersion rate in water), ground cover (inc. diversity, species), water infiltration and ecology (number of organisms). On the first trip photos of sites were taken, as well as garden fork tests (ease of getting through, measuring hardpan etc).
This project is people funded, we do not receive any government funding for this (no funding is currently available for this type of monitoring). If you would like to support this project which can ultimately result in encouraging large landholders to change their practices to regenerative, please click here to donate. Your support will pay for fuel costs and we are wanting to purchase a drone for overhead footage of the station. We also would like to be able to run soil carbon tests ourselves if needed, these tests are costly.
Below are some photos showing the initial state of some of the station. This is at the end of the dry season. This video also shows some of the land the owners are working with, and explains more about the project.
Photos below are a cross section of areas on the station
Some depict serious erosion issues, some have hard pan, some still have good grassy areas. Initially the good areas will be targeted in order for the farmer to create an income. Once that is stable they will start targeting areas in need of more work.