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Learning from history to survive in the future: Management evolution on Trafalgar Station, North-East Queensland

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Landsberg, R.G., Ash, A.J., Shepherd, R.K. and McKeon, G.M. (1998) Learning from history to survive in the future: Management evolution on Trafalgar Station, North-East Queensland. The Rangeland Journal, 20 (1). pp. 104-118. ISSN 1036-9872


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ9980104


Managing rangeland enterprises requires balancing socio-economic goals within a production environment characterised by ecological complexity and large climatic variability. Trafalgar Station in north-east Queensland, has been trying to maintain this balance over a period of 80 years and three generations of the one family. This paper explores how management on Trafalgar Station has gone through four evolutionary phases and examines the advantages and disadvantages of each of these stages of development. The first 50 years of management was a technologically constrained era of low stock numbers and poor productivity but there were few resource management problems. Next followed a 20 year period of production maximisation which was made possible by improved cattle genetics and nutritional technologies. With drought feeding occurring more frequently and loss of perennial grasses and soil becoming more evident, there came the realisation that this high stocking strategy was unsustainable. The management of Trafalgar then embarked on a new philosophy based on conservative stocking (similar to historical levels) and increased emphasis on herd, pasture and financial management. This new management philosophy required a transitional phase where stock numbers. and income, were very low to allow pasture condition to improve. Current herd management focuses on maintaining quality rather than quantity, strategic use of supplements for production, and developing a diverse range of markets for sale cattle. Conservative stock numbers have increased opportunities in pasture management with 15 to 20% of the property now annually rested from grazing. Fire has been reintroduced to restrict "thickening" of native woody plants and to control exotic woody weeds. Together with long-term financial planning, these improvements in management are reducing economic risk. The perceived benefits of the current management philosophy are supported by simulation modelling studies of pasture and animal production and analyses of property economics.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Science > Statistics > Simulation modelling
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Farm economics. Farm management. Agricultural mathematics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Live Archive:18 Mar 2024 00:08
Last Modified:18 Mar 2024 00:08

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