"Potential to grow five times more wood in a managed native forest than in a patch with no management,”

Grazing and forestry friends with benefits

Source: North Queensland Register

Toweran Park, just south of Gladstone is leading the way in diversification for primary production successfully showcasing the long-term benefits of combining grazing and forestry. Results were demonstrated at a recently held field day.

Sean Ryan and Bill Schulke from Private Forestry Service Queensland believe“There is the potential to grow five times more wood in a managed native forest than in a patch with no management,” Schulke said.

According to Marie Vitelli, AgForce policy officer, Toweran Park is an excellent example of productivity, income diversity and good management.

"Property owners Peter and Sue Reinke rarely need to feed supplements since they use a mix of improved pastures and rotational grazing to retain stock condition throughout the year,” Vitelli said.

"Above the pasture is a sustainable resource of well-managed hardwood timber. All coastal freehold grazing properties should consider using native forest practice.

"Financial returns from harvesting native hardwoods such as spotted gum and Moreton Bay ash help pay for property improvements and cash flow on this small grazing block.”

The Reinkes manage connected areas of native hardwood habitats with areas of improved pastures on their freehold property.

The tree/grass balance in their native hardwood forests is thinned to maximise growth of mill-able timber while retaining productive pasture under the trees. Log trimmings and thinned timber may also provide cash flow if sold as landscape material to millers.

“Of particular interest was the yield and available green pick on a paddock of Reclaimer Rhodes grass that was sown three years ago,” Vitelli said. "This fine stem variety from Selected Seeds is frost resistant and has long runners which provided very high ground cover.”

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd attended the Toweran Park Field Day and was extremely impressed with the information on offer and the initiative shown by the Private Forestry Service, landholders and the MVRSLS.

“It’s great to see such an example of land management being openly exhibited in a field day format,” O’Dowd said.

“With a renewed focus on agriculture as one of the key pillars of our economy, operations like Toweran Park provide a prime example of what can be achieved through value adding and diversification within the sector to improve productivity, sustainability and profitability.”

Gladstone Regional Council deputy mayor Matt Burnett and councillor Maxine Brushe also attended the field day.

"The Reinkes have shown the benefits of combining grazing and forestry and I would encourage rural land holders to consider diversification where possible and appropriate to ensure the local term viability of primary production in the Gladstone Region,” Burnett said.

"By diversifying property owners can maintain a cash flow from grazing and a benefit from a superannuation type returns that forestry offers.

"It makes sense to consider all your options.”

Reinke said research was important to anyone thinking of going down similar lines.

“Knowing the native hardwood market place and what products are in demand are important before launching into silviculture,” he said.