For the Love of the Land
by Karen Dugmore 2016 e-Leaders Grow, Innovate and Sustain Program participant
Sharing Stories of Sustainability | Sustainable Beef Production
After graduating as a teacher, I met my husband and with absolutely no experience, my future in the beef industry began. After travelling around Australia, living and working on cattle stations, we purchased our own farm in Queensland. Following the birth of our only son, we returned to South Australia (where we both grew up) to be closer to family.
We had to buy a much smaller farm and have leased country on the Fleurieu Peninsula in an effort to develop a sustainable beef production enterprise. We also run a livestock transport business – life is busy! Over the years we have seen many developments in sustainable beef production and we are always looking for ways to improve.
Attending a local MLA seminar inspired us to do things differently – better. We were then offered a parcel of some 500 acres to lease. This has allowed us to set up a trading program and implement new knowledge, proving a capability to run a successful and sustainable enterprise.
My project for the 2016 e-Leaders Grow, Innovate and Sustain Program was to continue work that we had started, improving pastures on the land.
To date, we have been trialling alternative ideas including rotational grazing, Sabbath paddocks, animal impact and reducing paddock size but increasing mob size.
We are developing knowledge in organic methods of weed management and concepts of pasture rejuvenation as well as exploring wisdom supplement feeding. Cattle are purchased in light condition. We carry them only long enough to take them up a grade, turning them off quickly, aiming to maximise pasture utility. We have proven that we can take better care of our pastures and produce profitable results at the same time.
Farming is something we are very passionate about. We feel a great responsibility as guardians of the land we work. It is immensely rewarding to have the landowners come to their property and recognise that it is looking the best it ever has.