December 2014 - Northern Territory Government

ISSN: 1325-9539
December 2014
Beetaloo Rotational Grazing Field Day
Jane Douglas, Pastoral Production Officer, Tennant Creek
On the 10th of September 2014, a Rotational Grazing Field Day was held at
Beetaloo. Forty two participants travelled from all over, Darwin to Alice
Springs, Queensland, NSW and even Tasmania; just to see what was being
done on the Barkly.
Participants met up at the Beetaloo homestead for morning tea, general
introductions and a quick overview of the project. Everyone then convoyed
out to the Peabush site, stopping off along the way to see the cattle in the
rotation before lunch was served in the paddock.
After lunch, Dionne Walsh (DPIF) discussed the pasture sampling that is
being conducted, and Jon Hodgetts (NRM) spoke on behalf of Desert
Wildlife Services about the Fauna surveys. The real discussion came via
talks by Jane and Scotty Armstrong about the management, infrastructure
Scotty Armstrong giving some insight
on the development at Beetaloo
BARKLY BEEF | page 1
and development that have taken place across the property. John Dunnicliff also joined in with an
informal panel discussion to round out the day.
Bulls surrounding one of the hundreds of new tanks covering the property
After purchasing Beetaloo, Mungabroom and OT Downs, the Dunnicliffs and Armstrongs had noticed
that the traditional set stocking regime was impacting on their land condition and animal performance. At
this time, there were about 40 waters across the 3 properties. In order to realise the carrying capacity
and production potential of the leases, a substantial infrastructure development program has been
undertaken. There are now almost 600 waters and thousands of kilometres of new fencing and polypipe
on the properties.
Set Stocked Area
Adjacent Rotation Paddock
The set stocked areas tend to have higher levels of defoliation compared to the adjacent rotation paddocks, illustrating the issue that
the development program is addressing.
They believe that this development will:
 increase herd productivity
 improve and maintain land condition
 maintain biodiversity values within a productive native pasture ecosystem
 increase water use efficiency
The family believes that in order to achieve development of this scale, both forward planning and
flexibility are essential. Know what you want to achieve in the long run, but be willing to change things
along the way in order to reach the final goal.
Scotty prefers the simple set up, with the water lines connecting a series of tanks and bores on loop
systems, allowing for storage and backup water supplies.
The Rotational Grazing Pilot has been collecting data on pasture & cattle performance, as well as fauna
surveys, for a couple of years. At this stage it is still too early to say how the environmental and animal
BARKLY BEEF | page 2
performance outcomes of the system compare to traditional grazing practices. Stay tuned for future
Participants at the Beetaloo Field Day
Tennant Creek Office Wins Equal Runners-Up in Chief Ministers Awards
The Tennant Creek Livestock Industry Development team, formerly known as the Pastoral Production
Team, was recently nominated for the Chief Minister's Award for Building Regional and/or Remote
Economies for their program of training the staff on cattle stations across the Barkly.
The nomination recognised the two major courses run on Barkly including the biennial run Barkly Herd
Management Forum aimed at middle management staff such as assistant managers, overseers, leading
hands and head stockmen, and the Rangeland Management Courses that are aimed primarily for staff in
the stockcamp and provide a good introduction to general pasture and cattle management practices for
those new to the Barkly.
Casey Collier and Helen McMillan (Tennant Creek DPIF office) and Jodie Ward (Katherine DPIF who
also co-presented the Rangeland Management Courses earlier in 2014) travelled to Darwin in midNovember for the awards ceremony. Unfortunately Jane Douglas (Tennant Creek DPIF office) was
unable to attend.
The Tennant Creek Team did extremely well to be equal runner up along with ‘Remote Housing Property
and Tenancy Management Contracts with the Department of Housing’. The winner in this category was a
large team from several agencies working on economic development on the Tiwi Islands.
BARKLY BEEF | page 3
The Tennant Creek office wish to thank the local pastoralists on the Barkly for their continual support,
input into topics and willingness to host and send participants to these courses. It is envisaged these
courses will continue to be offered for many years to come.
L-R: Alister Trier, Casey Collier, Helen McMillan, Jodie Ward and Neil Macdonald with the award; The girls swapped their cowgirl
boots and jeans for elegant gowns at the black-tie event, Equal runners-up accept their award from the Honourable Chief Minister,
Adam Giles.
Aerial trials for weed control in the Barkly
Meg Humphrys, District Weeds Officer, Tennant Creek
Most Barkly producers are probably aware of the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) funded Rubber
Bush Project. The project began in 2010 and will finish up in May next year. Over the duration of the
project much has been learnt about the ecology, spread and control options for this invasive plant.
Rubber bush is recognised as a serious weed that impacts productive capacity in the Barkly. The NT
Government’s Department of Land Resource Management (DLRM), Weed Management Branch, in
conjunction with other project partners aim to give producers the tools needed to reduce the threat
rubber bush poses.
The Tennant Creek office of the DLRM Weed Management Branch employed the expertise of two Dow
Agro Sciences representatives, Ken Springall and Graham Fossett to trial the aerial application of
granular herbicide, a method that has been very successful in Queensland. The Branch wanted to
undertake aerial tebuthiuron (Graslan™) trials in the Barkly region using Dow Agro’s specialised plane.
If successful, the approach will provide a cost effective and highly efficient method of broad scale rubber
bush control. Importantly there should be limited need to re-treat the area (with the exception of outliers)
due to the residual capacity of the herbicide. While there may be some re-sprouting of rubber bush, the
residual qualities of tebuthiuron should continue to impact the plants’ growth as well as stop any
seedlings from regenerating.
Figure 1: (left) Image showing the rubber bush intrusions and the flight path of the plane showing the straight
lines in light green the plane followed to ensure thorough coverage of the rubber bush site.
BARKLY BEEF | page 4
In early November DLRM Weed Management Officers headed out to Brunchilly Station north of Tennant
Creek. There, the Officers met with Ken and Graham from Dow, as well as the pilots. Graham worked
with the station’s Assistant Manager; Luke Giblin to plot the trial location on Google Pro using previously
collected GPS points. Graham then made the area surrounding the point into a polygon shape that plane
could fly over in parallel lines as seen in Figure 1.
Ken supervised loading the plane with one tonne of tebuthiuron that had been trucked down from
Katherine. Once the plane was loaded, everyone headed out to the site to watch the plane distribute the
chemical at 12.5 kg per hectare. The pilot, Brett, was practical in his approach ensuring he had good
coverage of the infestation. He visually assessed the infestation from the air before dispersing the
Figure 2: Loading of the specialised plane. The shoot where the
pellets of herbicide come out can be seen under the plane.
Figure 3: (right) The plane, designed by owner Headly, was flown
at a specific height to achieve the rate of 12.5 kg per hectare.
While the photos don’t show the tebuthiuron being released, the granules can be clearly seen on the
ground following application.
Trials were also undertaken at Brunette Downs at two sites containing rubber bush. A representative
from Dow Agro Sciences will return next year in May to visit both stations to determine the efficacy of the
aerial trials with Weed Management Branch staff.
On ground control trials, also being undertaken as part of the MLA project are starting to yield results,
but next year there will be more conclusive information about the top performing chemicals in controlling
rubber bush under Barkly conditions. A field day planned for April/May next year, to be run in conjunction
with Naomi Wilson from Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM), will showcase results and
determine future rubber bush management opportunities in the Barkly.
The DLRM Weed Management Branch is grateful to AACo and S. Kidman & Co, their Managers Michael
Johnston and Chris Towne, and their Assistant Managers Steve Pocock and Luke Giblin, for their
involvement in the trials and for showing leadership in trialling this promising management technique.
The Branch would also like to acknowledge project partners Charles Darwin University, MLA and
Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and in particular Shane
BARKLY BEEF | page 5
Some important cattle diseases present in the Barkly - Part 2
John Eccles, Regional Veterinary Officer, Katherine
Most cattle producers probably do not realise the extent of economic loss that can occur through
reproductive failure in their cattle. In well-managed herds, an accepted level of reproductive wastage
from early pregnancy to weaning is about 10%. Heifers and first calf cows are the groups most likely
affected by reproductive diseases, as older cows have generally developed some degree of immunity
through previous exposure.
Besides the three major causes of productivity loss that will be discussed, there are also many other
non-infectious factors that contribute to infertility and productivity loss. Up to 60% of bovine abortion
cases may be attributed to non-infectious causes.
The three major causes of productivity losses are Pestivirus (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea), Campylobacter
(Vibriosis) and Ephemeral Fever (3-day sickness).
Other diseases such as Leptospirosis,
Trichomoniasis, Neosporosis, Akabane and a host of other viruses, whilst existing in the NT, are
generally of much less importance.
In this edition, we will discuss Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and Bovine Ephemeral Fever (3 day
Pestivirus, also known as Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is an acute, highly contagious, worldwide
disease of cattle that results in enteric and respiratory disease and associated reproductive loss. Results
from the serosurvey conducted in 2010 indicated that Pestivirus was commonly recorded in all regions of
the NT.
The virus is spread via direct contact with infected materials such as saliva, nasal secretions, urine,
faeces and birth fluids of persistently infected (PI) animals. Temporary high-stocking situations such as
mustering, yarding, trucking and supplementary feeding/watering sites all contribute to the spread of the
Persistent infection with pestivirus should always be considered where some young cattle in a mob are
doing very poorly while other cattle are doing very well.
The major source of infection on properties is the presence of persistently infected (PI) animals. These
are calves born from cows that were infected prior to 125 days of gestation.
PI animals are generally ill thrifty and most will die before 2 years of age. However some will appear
normal and may even enter the breeding herd undetected and continue to infect those cattle around
What is the impact of Bovine Pestivirus?
In adult cattle, infection with Bovine Pestivirus usually only causes mild flu-like symptoms with low
mortality rates. Once recovered, infected animals develop a long lasting immunity to the disease
Issues occur when heifers and cows are infected for the first time during pregnancy. The effects of
the disease vary according to the stage of pregnancy the cow/heifer is in when it becomes infected.
o Infection at the time of mating –-- disrupts cycling and causes early foetal death
o Infection at 1-4 months ---------- causes abortion or produces PI calves.
o Infection at 4-6 months –--------- causes abortions or abnormal calves (brain and eye defects)
o Infection at 7-9 months –--------- generally causes no problems
Once a heifer or cow has been exposed to the virus and developed immunity, future pregnancies
will not be affected even if she is re-exposed to the virus later on. On a limited survey carried out
BARKLY BEEF | page 6
on thirteen properties in the NT, it was found that 63% of animals had been infected with BVD by
the time they were 3 years old. In some areas, around Alice Springs and the Stuart Plateau, it was
found that 90%+ of the heifers had been infected with the virus before they were 2 years of age
and thus vaccination against BVDV would be unnecessary in these mobs.(Schatz, Melville and
Davis 2008)
In herds with high numbers of non-immune animals, the introduction of Bovine Pestivirus can result
in massive losses through abortion storms, where a high proportion of breeding cows will abort
their pregnancies
Abortions will flow on to cause increased out-of-season calves as the cows become pregnant later
than normal.
In herds with high levels of persistent infection, it is estimated that annual losses of up to 7% of
calves can occur
What can you do about Bovine Pestivirus?
1. Do nothing and accept current losses or the risk of abortion storms
2. Vaccinate all heifers prior to joining (immunity lasts 12 months):
This protects the heifers during their first pregnancy, during which time they should be
exposed to the virus and develop their own natural immunity which is lifelong
This should be sufficient for properties with high levels of infection
A course of two vaccinations 4 weeks to 6 months apart is required
Immunity does not develop until after the second dose is administered
The second dose must occur 4 weeks prior to joining begins
The current cost of vaccination is approximately $5 per dose and can be purchased ‘over
the counter’.
3. Vaccinate heifers as above and continue to administer annual vaccination to entire breeding herd:
May be necessary for properties with low levels of underlying infection where
heifers may not be exposed to the virus naturally and develop their own immunity during
their first pregnancy
Provides ongoing insurance against an abortion storm
4. Autovaccination program using PI animals:
o Identify PI animals through blood or ear notch testing
o Lock heifers with PI animals at a rate of 3-4% in close contact for 24-48 hours
Note;- Once any control protocol is commenced it must not suddenly be terminated as this would leave
the entire herd in a naive state and open for an ‘abortion storm.’
Bovine Ephemeral Fever (3 Day Sickness):Bovine Ephemeral Fever is another important viral disease affecting productivity in Northern Australia. It
is an endemic disease affecting cattle across Darwin and the Katherine regions as well as the Barkly
Biting midges (Culicoides spp.) and some species of mosquitoes transmit it. These insects are most
active in summer and autumn months and are much more prevalent when there has been an extensive
‘wet’. This generally determines the prevalence of the disease.
The disease conditions show up as a fever and lameness lasting for about 3 days (“3-day sickness”),
however recovery even after lengthy periods of up to three weeks’ recumbency has been recorded.
Death is from exposure and dehydration. When the affected animal becomes recumbent in extreme
environmental conditions it is essential to provide water, food and shade.
BARKLY BEEF | page 7
During an outbreak of the disease such activities as mustering have to be disrupted as the added stress
will cause increased mortalities. As natural infection provides a lifelong immunity, younger stock are the
most likely group to be affected. However, if there has been a lengthy period of dry conditions, then the
incidence of the disease after the next big wet will increase significantly and a much higher percentage
of older animals will be affected. Clinical signs are much more pronounced in heavier cattle.
Abortions may occur if the heifers/cows are infected during the second and third trimesters of their
Clinical Signs.
o Fever, depression, lameness with muscular stiffness and twitching.
o Downer animals
o Abortion, saliva drooling from the mouth
Note: heavier and older animals are more severely affected.
Prevention and Control Measures
o Vaccination—this is a 2 shot vaccination, the initial dose followed by a booster in 4 weeks
o Provide shade, water and food to downers if this is at all possible, as the effected animals
already have a fever and any lengthy period exposed to the elements will result in many animals
o Prop the animal upright so that it rests on its breast bone as this will help to prevent fluid
retention in the lungs from occurring.
It is recommended that at least bulls are vaccinated to prevent temporary infertility. Census figures for
2004 indicated that 8% of producers did this in the Barkly region; however vaccination of commercial
breeders appears not to be warranted. Effective vaccination requires two shots given a month apart.
Following natural infection, cattle generally remain immune for at least 2 years.
If you have any questions regarding any of these diseases or others, please contact John Eccles,
Regional Veterinary Officer, on 08 8973 9716, or [email protected]
BARKLY BEEF | page 8
Barkly Landcare & Conservation Association Update
Kate Christianson, Regional Landcare Facilitator, Barkly Tablelands
After a brief hiatus, things are moving along once again at Barkly Landcare &
Conservation Association in Tennant Creek. Kate Christianson was appointed as the new Barkly
Landcare Facilitator in July, bringing with her a broad range of project management and facilitation
experience within the environmental and catchment management sector. Kate has begun to settle in
and is working towards keeping the good work of her predecessors in motion.
Within the Barkly, work is continuing on the two-year Beetaloo Rotational Grazing Pilot with a very
successful field day held in September. Attendees came from all over Australia and from as far away as
Tasmania! This pilot is a joint project between Barkly Landcare & Conservation Association, the
Dunnicliff and Armstrong families of Beetaloo and Mungabroom Stations, the NT Department of Primary
Industry and Fisheries and Desert Wildlife Services. The project is evaluating an alternative approach to
grazing land management in the Barkly Tablelands region through the implementation of a long-term
intensive rotational grazing system. The station owners are seeking to address the uneven utilisation of
pastures, a problem typically seen on cattle properties, as well as enhance local biodiversity. Rotational
grazing practices of this scale and intensity are new to the Mitchell grass downs of the Barkly.\
NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries staff completed the second round of pasture sampling
for this year in October and the fifth comprehensive flora and fauna survey was undertaken by Desert
Wildlife Services over the course of two weeks in November. In addition to this, cattle weight
performance data is collected biannually by Beetaloo Station.
This demonstration is gathering scientific evidence of what the pastures and biodiversity were like in the
initial stages of the development and grazing program and how they change over time. The aim is to
measure the potential for sustainably and profitability intensifying production through grazing practices
that give greater control of livestock distribution, grazing pressure and pasture utilisation.
Also this year in the Barkly, work is has commenced for regions in both the Tarrabool Lake and Lake
Sylvester catchments. This work will entail spraying for Parkinsonia and Prickly Acacia, both weeds of
national significance. Both ephemeral Lakes are recognised as High Conservation Value Aquatic
Ecosystems within the Northern Territory.
Opportunities- Non-pastoral Use Activities
Annette Duncan, Department of Land Resource Management, Palmerston
On 1 January 2014 amendments to the non-pastoral use (NPU) provisions of the Pastoral Land Act were
The NPU amendments enable the Pastoral Land Board (PLB) to issue permits for NPU activities on
pastoral land for a term of up to thirty years and to register the permit to the lease, allowing transfer with
change of ownership.
NPUs promote opportunities to diversify activities on pastoral properties. Additional fact sheets with more
information will be released in future editions of Barkly Beef.
In this issue you will find information on “Where are the opportunities” then over the coming issues will
be “Land Suitability”, “Pastoral Business Development”, “NPU & Native Title”, “Pastoral Land Act,
Amendments” and “Frequently Asked Questions”.
If you want further information or any of these fact sheets before future editions please contact the
Department of Land Resource Management, Director Pastoral Lease Administration and
Board Annette Duncan on 0400576418 email: [email protected] or visit the website
BARKLY BEEF | page 9
BARKLY BEEF | page 10
BARKLY BEEF | page 11
An interactive course developed for station staff to
enhance their skills & knowledge in the area of
land & production system management in the
Barkly region.
What: 1½-2 day course covering…Pasture species,
dynamics & management | Weed management &
poisonous plants | Animal nutrition | Biodiversity
Where: On-station
Available Dates (tentative): February-May;
Dates on request from Stations
For more information about BRMC or to organise a course on your station, please contact:
Jane Douglas
Helen McMillan
Casey Collier
DPIF, Tennant Creek
Tel: (08) 8962 4483
Tel: (08) 8962 4486
Tel: (08) 8962 4493
Fax: (08) 8962 4480
Email: jane.douglas
[email protected]
[email protected]
BARKLY BEEF | page 12
Wedding bells in the DPIF office
Our local DPIF administration office, Skye Ries, recently tied the knot to her long-time partner, Allan Spence, in a
romantic ceremony in Vanuatu. The pair were accompanied by close family and friends and honeymooned at the
resort. We wish Skye and Allan a lifetime of happiness.
BARKLY BEEF | page 13
Biosecurity Updates
Animal Biosecurity Branch
Do you keep poultry, pigs, pigeons, sheep,
goats, deer, horses, cattle, buffalo, camelids?
It is mandatory for owners of an identifiable property or block to have a PIC registered for all livestock, including
pets, and without exception.
Livestock Regulations Section 32(1) states:
The owner of an identifiable property must have a PIC registered for the property.
An identifiable property is a property that keeps any of the following livestock:
Alpacas, buffalo, camels, cattle, deer, goats, horses, llamas, pigs, poultry, pigeons, sheep.
Property Identification Codes – Why?
The purpose of property identification is for tracing and controlling disease but also for locating properties/blocks and
notifying owners quickly.
In the event of disease being detected, it is absolutely crucial to identify properties/blocks in the surrounding area where
livestock reside. This will enable the disease to be isolated and managed rapidly as well as a direct way of contacting
livestock owners to keep them up to date of various situations.
PIC registration is free of charge. Please complete the PIC registration form on our website at, or contact the Regional Livestock Biosecurity Officer (RLBO) for assistance.
Darwin Region
Katherine Region
Tennant Creek Region
Alice Springs Region
Ian Doddrell (RLBO)
Greg Scott (RLBO)
Tom Haines (A/RLBO)
Greg Crawford (RLBO)
Ph: 08 8999 2030
Ph: 08 8973 9754
Ph: 08 8962 4458
Ph: 08 8951 8125
BARKLY BEEF | page 14
BARKLY BEEF | page 15
What When & Where
December 2014
Christmas Day
25th December
Boxing Day
26th December
January 2015
Australia Day
26th January
Tennant Creek Rodeo
4th October
Tennant Creek
26th & 27th March
12-16th April
Alice Springs
March 2015
31st Annual NTCA Annual
Conference, AGM & Gala
April 2015
18th Biennial Australian
Rangeland Society
DPIF Christmas Trading Hours
The DPIF office will be closed:
Thursday 25th December 2014
26th December 2014
Thursday 1st January 2015
For all urgent enquires during this time, please call your local stock inspector Thomas Haines on 0401
113 445
BARKLY BEEF | page 16
Around the Traps
Have you taken a good photo? Send it into [email protected]
Some of the bulls involved in the Helen Springs
Producer Demonstrate Site trial.
You never know what you find on your travels in the NT. Some
resident buffalo enjoy some green pick at the Dunmarra
Roadhouse, north of Elliott.
The build-up over the Barkly
Early morning start in the yards on Helen Springs Station.
Never a boring sunset over the Barkly.
Jodie Ward (Katherine DPIF) and Jane Douglas (Tennant Creek
DPIF) celebrate the end of another grass counting trip in style.
Emma Sauer (Brunette Downs) is all smiles at the
Barkly Goldrush Campdraft. Photo courtesy of Sandy
Helen McMIllan, The Voice Star Holly Tapp, Jodie Ward and
Casey Collier enjoy getting glammed up for the Chief Ministers
Awards in Darwin.
Jodie Ward (DPIF Katherine) has a chat to Chief
Minister’s Award’s MC, Shane Jacobson, aka Kenny.
Peter Raleigh from Brunette Downs at the Barkly Goldrush
Campdraft held in Tennant Creek in October. Photo courtesy of
Sandy Bauer.
BARKLY BEEF | page 17
Barkly House Staff List
First Floor, 99 Paterson St
PO Box 159, Tennant Creek, NT, 0861
Fax: (08) 8962 4480
Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries
Regional Management
Executive Officer
Administration Officer
Helen Kempe
Skye-Lea Ries
08 8962 4484
08 8962 4488
Regional Stock Inspector
Thomas Haines
Stock Inspector
Greg Maguire
08 8962 4458
M: 0401 113 445
08 8962 4492
M: 0457 517 347
Animal Health
Pastoral Production
Pastoral Production Officer
Pastoral Production Officer
Pastoral Production Officer
Casey Collier
Jane Douglas
Helen McMillan
08 8962 4493
08 8962 4483
08 8962 4486
Barkly Landcare & Conservation Association
Landcare Facilitator
Kate Christianson
08 8962 4494
Helen, Skye, Tom, Greg, Case, Jane,
Helen and Kate wish everyone a
wonderful Christmas and holiday season.
May the New Year bring with it luck,
cheer, rain and lots of it! We look
forward to catching up with you in 2015!
If undeliverable, please return to:
Department of Primary Industry &
PO Box 159
Related flashcards
Viral diseases

35 Cards


34 Cards

Create flashcards