LONG time northern cattle producer Tom Mann has taken out the inaugural Excellence in Rangeland Management award, presented by the Australian Rangeland Society, for his contribution to research and development and land management.
Spending most of his life developing Hillgrove Pastoral Company in the Charters Towers region of North Queensland, Mr Mann became a regular speaker in land management forums, hosted many different delegations on his properties and was an inaugural member of the North Australia Beef Research committee.
He started his working life in the early 1950s as a first year jackaroo with Scottish Australian Company, an English company at “Nive Downs”, a large sheep and cattle property near Augathella in Qld. After a six month tour to Europe with his parents, Tom returned to the Scottish Australian Company at Eastmere (Lake Galilee) and Kynuna Station where he rose to overseer.
In 1958 Tom drew the Charters Towers block “Lochwall” in a land ballot and proceeded to develop the property. After marrying Eve Allingham in 1965, Tom worked with the Allingham family to establish Hillgrove Pastoral Company in the Charters Towers district, which expanded with the acquisition of an additional five cattle stations that gave the next generation the option of a life in the beef industry.
Friend and Australian Rangeland Society director and secretary Bob Shepherd said there were many aspects about Mr Mann’s contribution to the industry and his ideals that were to be admired:
- His openness about all aspects of managing Hillgrove Pastoral Co – details on
finances even to complete strangers (anecdote RAT’s tour 1993)
- His non-obsession with taxation (if you’re paying tax, you’re making a profit)
- All cattle are on the market
- Sell early if the seasonal break is late
- Use of fire as a management practice
- Not over-capitalizing the business (anecdote – driving around large paddock –
- Matching stocking rates to current carrying capacity – Tom recognises this as a
major driver of land condition, animal production and profitability.
- Strong supporter of R and D (CSIRO, UNE, DPI, TWRC and NQBRC/ NABRC)
(anecdote – forestry plot) including being a strong supporter of increasing the
- Distain of snake-oil in the beef industry
- Early adopter of IT
- Determination to do succession planning well
- Strong stance on keeping subsidies out of agriculture – market distortion (cattle and
land), land degradation, difficulty with succession planning, etc.
Mr Mann was nominated for the award by an ARS member in Perth who had seen him talk at many events.
- To read the nomination click here