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Leahton Park
13 Jun 2008
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The house block, Leahton Park (177ha) was purchased by us in 1998 with the balance (259ha) being bought in 2003. The property had been almost completely cleared by the previous owner approximately in the 1980’s but due to ground disturbance and seed distribution when we bought the property there was an extensive population of mature woody weeds such a Parkinsonia, Chinee Apple, Rubber Vine, Lantana, Sisal Hemp, Castor Oil Bush, Bellyache Bush, Mimosa and Currant Bush. We started almost immediately on a herbicide program of elimination and control of the worst of these species. To date Parkinsonia, Lantana and Rubber Vine has been virtually eliminated and due to our efforts the remainder are in a state of control. Follow up spraying of seedlings & young is a high priority in our yearly calendar so as to ensure our earlier expenses & efforts are not wasted.

Up until this year methods of control have been herbicides such as: Access and Diesel, Brush-off, Grazon and the careful and selective use of Graslan. We have also used a brush-cutter clearing saw successfully as well as the use of a heavy slasher on small to medium size woody weeds. We have used fire to control Currant Bush when there was an abundant quantity of fuel (grass).

After a successful application for some funding under the Dalrymple Landcare Committee’s SPIRAL Project, a National Landcare Programme project, we have just recently blade ploughed approximately 10% of the property to both control woody weeds and to also renovate some under productive country, this same area will be sowed with buffel seed just prior to the next wet season by air. At this early stage the ploughing looks to be very successful and we look forward to adding it to our regular pasture improvement program.

We also fenced the property so cattle can be rotationally grazed to prevent overgrazing as this seems to be the best method to control weeds such as Parthenium and the grass coverage allows a quick response after rain. We are especially careful in our stocking of the areas along Sandy Creek, both for the reason just mentioned and also due to the fragility of what little creek frontage that we have. The last paddocks we stock each year are the Creek paddocks and they are also the first ones de-stocked. In the 10 years we have been here, we have always matched our stocking rate to our carrying capacity at the time; we believe that this is the only way to “drought-proof” a property.

The cattle that are run on Leahton Park are a balance of Brahman commercial steers/heifers and also registered purebred Texas Longhorns using imported semen and frozen embryos. Longhorns are renowned for their fertility, adaptability and also browse utilization so we believe it’s a good balance between two different but hardy breeds.

Because there is always a necessity to have some roads on a property and the roads are not always in the best position not to cause erosion, we have repaired the worst of any eroded areas with gravel which should lower the chance of this happening again and give us better roads as well.

Photo monitoring points have been established to give us a visual record of how the land is improving. We are just six months into photo monitoring and it’s interesting even at this early stage to watch the transformation. We have not done any mapping but have drawn our paddocks onto Google Earth images to give us an accurate indication of paddock layout, fence position etc. (Note: Photos attached show photo monitoring points and also property paddock layout)

Another of our plans is to use our horse team to do jobs such as distributing cattle lick and any other jobs that can be done with the team such as mowing or grading. This idea may seem eccentric to some but we thing that in this age of rising fuel prices and the burning of fossil fuel that this low impact method may be a viable option for those who have properties of this size.

Leahton Park is a nice property which will steadily become more productive each year due to our ongoing program of woody weed control and land renovation.

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