Boreelum – part 2

Host: Boreelum Station
Written by Adam Coffey – Station Owner/Manager

We’ve been on Boreelum for almost 2 years now and it is becoming increasingly apparent, like any other redevelopment scenario, that there are plenty of ways to spend the almighty dollar. At this stage of the game we’re really trying to focus in on the 80/20’s – where can we get the biggest productivity boost with the least expenditure? The main reason we bought the place was that we could see a lot of value in the quality of the existing perennial pastures amongst the plantation timber. We figured that if we could remove the plantation trees from the equation in a way that we didn’t have to re-seed then we’d have some very productive paddocks for little relative cost – so far, so good. Since chaining the timber we set about raking it using a dry hire machine (hire the machine and operate it yourself).

Stick raking.

Through keeping the implement up a bit and raking on the back of grazing or fire we’ve been able to row the timber with minimal ground disturbance and after some rain have seen an awesome response in the existing grass/legume mix. I reckon you can soon see where a property has been developed well and cared for in the past and this was confirmed when past owners, the Blomfield’s recently made contact with us.

The Blomfield’s owned the property since the 1940’s and were pretty much responsible for developing it into the successful beef property that it was regarded as prior to its use to grow pulp wood. We’ve since received some great history and old photographs of the place which are absolutely amazing to look at. Given that when we arrived here we had no past history, not even existing maps or paddock names, much of this information is invaluable. As much as we see innovation and technology as some of the keys to ag’s future there is a reason certain things have been done in the past and ignore that at your peril!

Boreelum house.

Blomfields at Boreelum.

Being in a Great Barrier Reef catchment has provided an opportunity to get on board with some of the funding and projects that have recently become available due to the emphasis being placed on reducing sediment runoff to the Reef. We were lucky enough to be accepted into Project Pioneer, a program facilitated by Resource Consulting Services (RCS). The project is a federally funded initiative coordinated by RCS to help increase the sustainability and productivity of producers within Great Barrier Reef Catchments. See the Project Pioneer video if you’re interested.

Whilst primary producers and conservation groups have had their conflicts over the years we view this as a good opportunity to tell our story as beef producers within the catchment and help educate people (particularly conservationists) that we are working towards a common goal. Environmentally healthy land equals productive, profitable farm businesses and specific to this project can work to minimise sediment runoff to the reef. A win-win for everyone. Specifically, we are gaining new skills through the project to improve the physical and financial management of our business whilst implementing an infrastructure plan that enables better livestock management and ultimately grows more grass – increasing ground cover as well as the profitability of our business.

Monitoring site.

One year later.

As we’re gradually getting rid of the plantation timber it’s also given us an opportunity to muck around with a few different grass and legume varieties to see if we can increase our plant diversity. We’re particularly interested in what legumes we can add to the mix and are very fortunate that Agrimix Pastures have given us the chance to run a legume trial here – early days but very much looking forward to the results!

Legume trial.

Desmanthus and Brizantha in windrow.

You can stay in touch with us on Facebook at Coffey Cattle Co or on twitter @JacCoffey, @AdamCoffeyNT