Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association showcases innovation

[May-June 2016]

Two innovation forums were run by the Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman's Association (KPCA) last month, to inform pastoralists of latest innovation and best practice for beef businesses in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

Held in Broome and Dampier on 12 and 15 April, and paired with BeefUp Forums, the events saw a total of 115 pastoralists and industry personnel in attendance. They were supported by MLA (Broome & Dampier Forums), Broome Shire Council (Broome Forum), Rangelands NRM through funding from the National Landcare Programme, and the Department of Agriculture and Food’s Northern Beef Futures Project through funding from Royalties for Regions. 

KPCA Executive Officer Catherine Marriott opened the forum by launching the new brand of the Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association.

“The new brand represents the innovative and connected nature of the KPCA," she said. 

"We were looking for something that represents our values of collaboration and connection with a desire to build stronger supplies chains through better localised research and building relationships."

“The KCA was changed to the KPCA in December through a membership vote to more accurately reflect the membership throughout northern WA, including the Pilbara."

Their new website—http://www.kpca.online/—was also launched. 

Rangelands NRM Project Manager (Kimberley) Mel McDonald said the program at the Broome Forum was very interesting, varied and informative.

“The program contained a great mix of speakers who work to support the pastoral industry and pastoralists talking directly to their peers about things they have tried and what they learned,” she said.

Martin Pentecost from Powers Agriculture and Finance was the first speaker and encouraged people to think differently in his talk on ‘Why Innovate’.

Barbara Bishop from Barbara Bishop & Associates presented on ‘Inspiring the Farming Family’, the importance of communication and how vital it was for each family member identifying their needs, ambitions and expectations and to communicate them to the rest of the family. She suggested that discussions of whether or not children wanted to or would be able to take over the family farm in the future should ideally start before children are 15 years old. 

Katie Pole and Simon Chesson from AustAsia Pty Ltd detailed the importance of succession planning and making a will.

Bryce Mooring from Broome Veterinary Practice spoke about ‘Technological Advances in Animal Management’ especially regarding reduced fertility levels and recovery intervals he has found in bulls transported to the Kimberley from the eastern states.

Anne Marie Huey from Dampier Downs Station presented an amazing photo story from their land system regeneration project. The project was identified as a priority during Ecologically Sustainable Rangelands Management (ESRM) planning and justified in their business financially as the first step in a larger infrastructure development plan for better land and herd management.

Kurt Elezovich from Country Downs Station shared learnings from a trial they have been undertaking in using a crocodile plough to renovate a degraded area of pindan soil.

“We have seen some positive results but will do some things differently next time," he said.

“I think it is important to share what we learn so we can all move forward.”

Matteo Salerno from Drone iView Australia spoke about ‘Drones, Aerial Technology and Agricultural Applications’.

“Current potential uses for drones on station include: checking waters, NDVI (normalised difference vegetation index) monitoring, thermal imagery for locating stock or feral animals and weed control including location and chemical distribution,” he said.

He said although to date drones have not proved effective in mustering stock in an average Kimberley situation, technology is continually advancing and as it does costs will come down. The latest fixed wing technology boasts the ability to travel up to 130km round trip with 2-3 hour endurance.

The final speaker was Tim Moore from A I Carbon who was set a task to ‘Demystify Carbon Trading’ in half an hour. Tim gave a brief history of carbon trading worldwide and Australia wide and outlined what the Paris Agreement in 2015 meant for the current situation. He also outlined the Savanah Burning and Herd Management Methodologies and fielded questions about these and their inherent opportunities for Kimberley pastoralists.

After lunch many of the attendees moved on to the Stakeholder Forum for the draft Land Administration Amendment Bill 2016 organised by the Department of Lands
Ms Marriot said this was the first of a yearly conference in April.

"Next year will be combining the Kimberley and Pilbara region, and are hoping to pull in a couple of well-known international speakers and run our conference in conjunction with a land management style of field day," she said.

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L-R: Catherine Marriot (KPCA EO), David Stoate (KPCA Treasurer, Anna Plains Station), Peter Camp (KPCA Chairman, Kalyeeda Station), Kurt Elezovich (KPCA Executive Member, Country Downs Station), Wendy Brockhurst (KPCA Secretary, Larrawa Station), Georgie Garland (KPCA Executive Assistant)