Grazing BestPrac             
Delivering Best Practice to Agriculture in Australia  

18th March 2013


Hi Guys,

Welcome to the March newsletter.

What a wild few months we have across Queensland and New South Wales. An extremely dry period followed by an extremely wet period and the promise of more to come maybe.

My thoughts go out to all of you who may have been impacted by the wild conditions and for those who struggled through drought as well. With the huge variation in weather across this country side, it is very important that we are all prepared for whatever weather happens. Mentally we have to be ready and our soils have to be in the best condition possible.

No matter what area or what industry you are involved in, we have a few ideas and tips to think about.

For the Farmers

Soil Health is the key to any productive crop - that means high microbial diversity and lots of soil life.

Time to start planning your winter cropping program and finish your summer crops properly.

GBP Qld has a number of support services and tools to assist you maximise your crop potential.

Summer Crops

Step 1 – You’ve got the crop in the ground by now – So time to "ask the plant" - plant test to maximise the potential yield from sorghum, mung beans etc or go to plant monitoring . (Call us for more info on 07 49383919)

There has been a number of reports of crop disease due to the wet conditions.

A tissue test is only $77 plus postage and could save you thousands of $??? (The tissue test will tell you which nutrients are the most limiting factor) Example Tissue test

It could be that the wet conditions are causing reduced protein synthesis from a nutritional shortfall. And this is causing the disease outbreak. When a plant is unhealthy, it is generally producing too much soluble nitrogen, amino acids and simple sugar concentrations. If the plant requires say manganese to complete protein synthesis, then by foliar applying manganese, the plant will no longer provide a food source for disease. This is a very simple concept that has been forgotten in agriculture today. Source “Healthy crops” Francis Chaboussou.

Step 2 – A foliar application of targeted nutrients will improve crop nutrition. Consider foliar nutrition in place of fungicides as all disease is a symptom of nutrition.

Get the nutrition right and disease is not an issue. (measure the difference). Spraying a fungicide may kill the disease organism, but inadvertently harm the crop by making it more susceptible to insect attack. At the very least conduct some test strips to see if nutrition helps.

Winter Crops

Step 1 - Soil test to get a handle on your winter nutrition.

How long is it since you soil tested? Have you got perfect soils or are your crops suffering in the past few years?

Are you using a lot of chemicals – more each year? What was the protein and yield last year??Are you getting reduced yields? Is it worth getting a second opinion?

Step 2 – Apply nutrients pre-plant if necessary. Sometimes planting is so busy, it is hard to add extra jobs of fertilising at planting. Look at your options.

Make sure the fertilisers are not going to volatilise or be lost from the paddock before you can use them or be bound onto other minerals. (talk to us)

Generally only 30 -50% of Urea applied is used by the plant – the rest is often lost from the soil.

Up to 50% of phosphate fertilisers are tied up in the soil and unavailable for plant uptake. That is a lot of wasted fertiliser.

And use a liquid seed treatment for a starter if possible.


This is an interesting talk about saving the biodiversity of our older crops for the future.

The importance of our older crop varieties of seed – pre-GM


Importance of cover cropping - USDA video


Holistic farming - Video link

For the Grazier

Time to maximise production from autumn and get ready for the winter management program. This is a good time to conduct soil tests to see what nutrients your soils are lacking - what will limit your production? Also a good way to test your carbon levels and measure your drought tolerance. Often we visually see what the problems are (leaf colour, leaf size etc) and look at the cattle (condition, coat colour etc). We have seen several protein droughts in pastures in recent weeks due to wet conditions and slowness of trace minerals to enter the pastures.

A leaf test is also an excellent way to test your pastures - (as above).

Right now may even be a good time to put some free choice minerals out to see what the livestock are really needing. Google Free Choice Minerals.


Forage Oats online - This is a link to an online oats variety guide developed by QDAFF and MLA - Oats Guide Link


For TOGG and Healthy Soils Graduates

I hope you are all moving forward and achieving big goals with managing the sun, soil and microbes. We have had quite a few people contact the office in past months about forming networks and groups in different regions. Often it is important to get involved in a support group as many people are negative about alternative ideas such as rotational grazing, holistic management and other positive practices. And its nice to be able to share ideas and learn from each other. If you are interested call Cathe on 49383919. Grazing Bestprac is running a series of one day Healthy Soils, Healthy Pastures catchup training days in April and May. These would be a great way to get your head back on-track.

Click the link to see when they will be in your area. HSHP Workshops


Even the government agencies in the USA agree that managed intensive grazing is the only way to manage pasture successfully. Check out the Texas Agri-Life info below.

And for those who really want to get a blast out of four days, come along to the NTS Course being held at Emu Park on the 13th to 16th May. This is sooo important for getting your health right and understanding how to manage soil health and plant health.


Healthy Soils Groups

We have two healthy soils groups operating in central Queensland and a lot of interest in managing nutrition and microbial activity. Last weekend the HSI at Rockhampton ran a field day at Marlborough in central Qld to measure the health of various ponded pastures with nutritional and microbial products. The day was held on Donald McCartneys property and measured the success of 6 treatments on four species. The group measured Brix, pH, nitrates and potassium levels in pasture. HSI contact Tina Armstrong 49356635


See our friendly ball rollers (dung beetles) in action.

Insects are awesome! No. 3 Dance of the dung beetle


How does Holistic Management improve soil health and reduce input costs? Texas Agri-Life Research.



Human Health Hint - try using the spice Tumeric more often to reduce the potential of prostate cancer.



13th - 16th May 2013

NTS Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture at Zilzie, Capricorn Coast  Central Queensland.

GRAEME SAIT – and the  NTS Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture – at Zilzie on the 13th – 16th May

Yes, we have been very lucky to get Graeme Sait and Julie Sutherland, from NTS, to come to the Capricorn Coast to present the four day course this year. The program will be run at the Seaspray Resort, Zilzie.

The course will cover 5 key areas of Minerals, Chemistry, soils, plants, animals and a big section throughout the course on human health.

If you want to attend one absolutely essential course for 2013, make it this one.

Cost of the program is $699 per person (incl gst)

The program is being supported by the Healthy Soils Inc group at Rockhampton.

Bookings essential. Phone Cathe on 07 4938 3919

Always at your service

Support for decisions

Soil Testing


Testing for microbes in healthy soil














































Sap testing




Checking Brix levels at Sandy's Creek, Marlborough





PO Box, 500, Yeppoon, Qld. 4703

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