Carbon program will make land more productive

Carbon program will make land more productive

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Donald Maasdopp (left), Pindabunna station (cattle) and Angus Nichols, Edah station (sheep) believe their pastoral leases will ultimately be more productive because of stock management changes required for carbon farming projects.

Donald Maasdopp (left), Pindabunna station (cattle) and Angus Nichols, Edah station (sheep) believe their pastoral leases will ultimately be more productive because of stock management changes required for carbon farming projects.

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ANGUS Nichols, Edah station east of Yalgoo, runs six sheep on 100,000 hectares - that's all he has left after wild dog attacks.

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ANGUS Nichols, Edah station east of Yalgoo, runs six sheep on 100,000 hectares - that's all he has left after wild dog attacks.

But, on the basis that the State government would eventually allow him access to Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), for the past 18 months Mr Nichols has been fencing two 30,000ha cells that will protect sheep from wild dogs and prevent them from eating sensitive areas where the native vegetation will be allowed to regenerate - once it rains.

He hopes to run 500 sheep in the cells, maybe up to 1000 in good seasons, with funding from sale of ACCUs helping to pay for the fencing and transition to rangeland self-herding stock management within the two cells.

"We are part of the Murchison hub cell funded by the government but are creating our own cells as part of our carbon farming project," Mr Nichols said.

"The kangaroos don't like it in there (cells) and we've got them out and most of the dogs, you can see the difference (to the country) almost immediately," he said.

"The thing I love about this whole carbon thing is that it encourages good management for the right reasons, it makes sense for us to look after the country.

"The incentive for us to overstock, to eat down whatever vegetation is there, is removed by the carbon projects, so it is in our interests to make sure that whatever we are grazing in not affecting the regrowth of the native vegetation."

Donald Maasdopp, Pindabunna station east of Paynes Find, has been working on a Clean Energy Regulator approved revegetation project for two years waiting for the State government to clear the way for him to trade ACCUs to help fund the project.

"We've probably done 200 kilometres of fencing, put in new watering points and implemented a stock management plan (for 500 Droughtmaster cattle) - a rotational grazing system," Mr Maasdopp said.

"We are fencing into paddocks - instead of running them on a 200,000ha station we're running them in 10,000ha paddocks.

"The aim is to get them back to the paddock were they started in four or five years.

"We are concentrating the fencing (to protect) the flood plain because that is where the most damage has been done by overgrazing and lack of stock management in the past and it's where we will see the most benefit for the environment.

"It (flood plain) was the cream of the crop many years ago and because of that it's been eaten out - (our plan) is to get more water, when it comes, into the ground.

"We are way understocked, the cattle are being used mainly as a land management tool at the moment with their hooves breaking up the hard surface crust in areas we want to regenerate and, of course, every cow pat makes a good seed bed.

"It's (regeneration project) not going to make (Pindabunna) less productive, it's going to be more productive, with time we'll probably be able to increase our numbers and they'll be better quality cattle," he said.

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