Good Beef – Good Reef

Dianne Mauloni
December 8, 2015

Cameron Burtenshaw and Billy Bock inspecting re-established  pastures

Cameron Burtenshaw and Billy Bock inspecting re-established  pastures  

Several rundown properties in the Evelyn Central district near Ravenshoe have been transformed into productive pastures while minimising the runoff into nearby waterways, thanks to support from the Reefsponsible and Viable Beef Production Project, a partnership between Terrain NRM and DAF funded by the Federal Government.

Owners Cameron and Sasha Burtenshaw bought the properties to expand their beef fattening operation but realised that while cultivation was needed, the risk of soil loss into waterways in the event of heavy summer rain had to be considered. 

Over 300 ha of the properties drains into the Herbert River catchment and a large percentage of the pastures were in a run-down weedy state and in need of good improved pasture species to be re-established. The owners were aware that responsible management of the project was required to minimise impacts on the reef. 

DAF and the Terrain Reefsponsible project team were consulted and a number of strategies implemented. 

All contour lines and the bottom of all gullies were left uncultivated and grassed down to trap any runoff in the event of a heavy storm. Contour banks were installed on all slopes and several sediment traps were constructed in the base of some steep gullies.

 Mareeba DAF Officer Bernie English said that the owners and their manager Billy Bock have done a great job and understand these ‘good beef production practices’ mesh in well with minimising any effects on water quality and the reef. 

“This is a good example of how establishing good pastures can be achieved with minimal impact from paddocks on downstream water quality in the Herbert River” said Bernie.

The Reefsponsible and Viable Beef Production project is a partnership between Terrain NRM and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) beef team based in Mareeba. Part of this project includes working with beef producers across the Upper Herbert River catchment to implement best practise business and herd/grazing management options. 

For further information about the Reefsponsible and Viable Beef Production Project, contact Bernie English at DAF on 0427 146 063  or Deb Bass, Terrain NRM on 0437 731 081.