Burdekin beef producers urged to apply for $30,000 opportunity

Beef Central, 03/06/2019

Bristow and Ureisha Hughes on their 32,000 hectare operation near Bowen.

Beef producers across Queensland’s Burdekin region have been urged to apply for free participation in a $30,000 training program to help them improve on-farm management and business performance, while reducing run-off to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

Project Pioneer provides transformational education, support and resources to facilitate manageable practice changes that yield high-impact results and is available to eligible producers in the Burdekin as well as the catchments areas of Johnstone, Herbert, O’Connell, Fitzroy, Burnett and Mary River.

The program is delivered by Resource Consulting Services (RCS) and funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

RCS General Manager Adam Curcio said results already achieved in the Burdekin clearly demonstrated the value regenerative practices can bring to the region, which covers approximately 141,000 square kilometres of predominantly grazing land.

“Through previous intakes of participants to Project Pioneer since its inception in 2016, we have seen producers in the region develop their farm management capacity, grow property production, improve land condition and build more profitable, resilient and future-focused operations,” Mr Curcio said.

“It does this by helping and supporting producers to rethink on-farm management based on the intrinsic link between the ecological and financial wellbeing of a grazing enterprise.

“This is achieved by increasing ground cover and land health through measures such as strategic placement of watering points and fencing, grazing rotation and better feedbase management.”

Bowen producers Bristow and Ureisha Hughes, Strathalbyn Station, joined Project Pioneer in 2016 and the benefits have flowed to their 32,000 hectare operation.

“We have better financial literacy, a better understanding of how a business should be operated, better land, grass and animal management, an increase in branding rates and breeder retention through increased conception rates, and better use of nutritional insights,” Mr Hughes said.

Production has also increased by more than a quarter after just two years of a five-year implementation plan, and additional gains are expected as the transformation continues.

“We’re growing more grass and retaining ground cover, and for us that means making more money. The better we can look after our land the better it will look after us.”

It’s a similar story for Kale and Karin Robinson who run 6,000 head on Hillsborough Station near Ayr.

“In agriculture, you can’t change a lot of things, but there are some things you have some control over. That’s the frame of mind the project puts you in, so you’re not just living on hope that tomorrow it might rain,” Mrs Robinson said.

“You start to understand what the land is doing and how it responds to change, and it’s exciting.”

For more information, to check eligibility and to apply go to

Project Pioneer is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The project is delivered by RCS with support from WWF, Maia Technology and Farm Map 4D. For further information on Project Pioneer, contact RCS. Phone 1800 356 004 or email


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