At our Mount Eerwah Park property in Queensland, we discovered that, on a well-managed property, grazing miniature cattle can actually be done in an ecologically friendly manner. If there is an environmentally sound way to achieve a good result, we endeavour to incorporate it. We cell graze, mulch and slash our pastures and always keep our land well understocked. We are now applying these same principles to our new property in Braidwood, in southern NSW.
The herd is ready to move into the next cell. The electric fence you can almost see, top left, makes this easy to manage.
We maintain the good health of our cattle with organic products and homoeopathic remedies when and where possible. We do not use chemical fertilisers or broad scale chemical weed control. We assist the movement of wildlife throughout our property by removing barbed wire from the top and bottom strands of all our fences and by using a single strand of electric poly wire as fencing where ever possible. Our cattle are only too happy to cohabit with the wildlife.
Our miniature cattle are non-selective grazers and will thrive in harsh conditions. They are being used in Australia and around the world in very carefully monitored grazing programs in environmentally sensitive areas. These programs are designed to reclaim and restore degraded lands.
Our cattle remain in good condition all year round without additional feed (other than the odd treat!), and they provide the only fertiliser we use.
Our pasture and our soil continue to improve in appearance and quality every season. The dung beetle population is increasing every year.
Parasites (both internal and external) are decreasing every season - along with the expense of chemicals.
Our wildlife is thriving, and the biodiversity on the property is continually on the improve. The number of cattle we can carry per acre on our property is increasing each year also.
Don't just take our word for it. Check out what some 'real' Australian farmers are doing to ensure they are improving the sustainability status and the environmental credentials of their properties. To read case studies of Australian farmers who are introducing cell grazing, fencing off environmentally sensitive areas, and reaping the rewards for their efforts go to RED MEAT GREEN FACTS
Growing plants take carbon dioxide out of the air and "fix" it into the soil as organic matter. The more carbon dioxide that's taken out of the air, the lower the rate of global warming. Until recently, forested land and ungrazed grasslands were thought to be the best "sinks" or storehouses for carbon. A recent study concluded that well-managed grazed pasture may be far better.
The concentration of carbon dioxide in our air is rapidly rising, a condition that contributes to the greenhouse effect and potential global warming. The more of the carbon that can be contained in the soil, however, the less that escapes into the air. A report released by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service found that soil stored 2 to 3 times more carbon when the grass was grazed than when it was harvested for hay or not harvested at all.
Another benefit of grazing researchers have noted, is that grazing also reduces costs by lowering needs for herbicides and producing income from the livestock. They estimated that even putting as little as 10 percent of existing cropland into rotation with grazing would produce significant cost reductions.
All ruminants including cattle, belch up a significant amount of methane gas as they digest their grass-based diet. Methane gas is a potent contributor to global warming, so reducing methane production is an important step in protecting the environment.
Animal scientists have discovered that dividing pasture land into separate areas or paddocks and carefully managing the movement of cattle through those paddocks produces the highest quality grasses. Cattle that graze on this succulent grass produce as much as 20 percent less methane. This style of farming is called management-intensive grazing or cell grazing.
DeRamus, H. A., T. C. Clement, D. D. Giampola, and P. C. Dickison. "Methane Emissions of Beef Cattle on Forages: Efficiency of Grazing Management Systems." J Environ Qual 32, no. 1 (2003): 269-77.