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Burnett Mary NRM region
LAND USE IN THE BURNETT MARY NRM REGION
(a) Area of holdings inscope of the survey.
(b) Includes land set aside for conservation/protection purposes as well as other areas on agricultural holdings not used for agricultural production (houses and buildings, services and access areas, water bodies, mining leases where the lease area cannot be used for agriculture and any other agriculturally unproductive area or inaccessible areas).
(c) The urban areas are as defined by the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. In some cases urban areas cross catchment boundaries. Where this occurs the urban area is classified as being in the catchment where most of the urban area lies.
(d) Includes infrastructure (roads, bridges, service easements etc) and water features (dams, rivers etc) as well as any land not covered by the scope of the Land Management Practices Survey 2008-09.
Baffle Creek catchment
Baffle Creek catchment is located north west of Bundaberg and covers an area of 410,206 hectares that varies between agricultural land, state forests and national parks across the catchment. The Baffle Creek catchment contains 316 holdings with 41% of land in the catchment mainly used for agricultural production. Agricultural activity in the catchment is dominated by beef cattle grazing (306 holdings).
As a result of the dominance of beef cattle grazing, only 45% of holdings in this catchment reported applying herbicide. This was the lowest proportion of the 28 catchments in the Great Barrier Reef. Holdings in the Baffle Creek catchment also reported relatively low adoption rates of surface water run-off management practices. The most common practice, ensuring at least forty percent ground cover remained on paddocks at the end of the 2008 dry season, was undertaken by 36% of the holdings.
Chemicals were used by 55% of holdings keeping beef cattle across the catchment. Of those holdings using chemicals 86% utilised targeted application methods and 14% used chemicals considered to be more environmentally friendly. In half of these holdings, cattle condition was used in determining stocking rates, while 29% practised rotational or cell grazing. Riparian areas were fully fenced off and alternate water points established in 17% of holdings keeping beef cattle.
Kolan River catchment
Kolan River catchment is located just to the north of Bundaberg and is the smallest catchment (291,671 hectares) in the Burnett Mary NRM region. The Kolan River flows in a south easterly direction until reaching Lake Monduran (Fred Haigh Dam). Beef cattle grazing is the most common agricultural activity (258 holdings) with sugar cane growing (129 holdings) and horticultural activity (97 holdings) also present. Land in the catchment mainly used for agricultural production (382 holdings) accounts for 63% of the catchment area. Land set aside for conservation/protection purposes accounted for 5% or 15,246 hectares of land across the entire catchment.
Holdings keeping beef cattle grazed on 174,953 hectares of land, while in comparison holdings growing sugar cane occupied 20,413 hectares of land with holdings engaged in horticultural activity accounting for 9,634 hectares of land.
In this catchment, stock access to riparian areas was actively controlled by 30% of holdings keeping beef cattle with 10% fully fencing off riparian areas and establishing alternative water points.
Economic or productivity advice was considered by 66% of holdings growing sugar cane in deciding how much fertiliser to apply.
Fruits, berries or nuts accounted for 60% of areas sown in holdings engaged in horticulture with vegetables occupying the remaining forty percent.
Burnett River catchment
The Burnett River catchment is the largest catchment in the Burnett Mary NRM region. It covers an area of 3.3 million hectares with 2.5 million hectares of land mainly used for agricultural production (3,586 holdings). Bundaberg is the largest urban centre in the catchment and lies on the Burnett river just west of the river mouth. Beef cattle grazing (3,064 holdings) is the predominant agricultural activity in the catchment with broadacre cropping also significant (823 holdings). Sugar cane (258 holdings) and horticulture activity (351 holdings) are also present. Of all catchments in the Burnett Mary NRM region the Burnett River catchment has the most area set aside as State forests and reserves (510,768 hectares or 50% of the NRM total).
In this catchment, 54% of all holdings used chemicals. Of these holdings, 39% calibrated chemical application equipment whenever a new product was used and 21% used chemicals they considered to be more environmentally friendly. Good farm hygiene was practised by 34% as an alternate control method for weeds, pests or diseases and a further 14% changed farm layout to industry best practice.
Soil testing for nutrients was undertaken by 10% of all holdings in the Burnett River catchment.
The most common practices adopted by farmers and land managers in this catchment to manage surface water run-off were using contour banks, diversion banks or constructed waterways (46%) and ensuring at least forty percent ground cover remained on paddocks at the end of the 2008 dry season (39%).
Fruits, berries or nuts accounted for 89% of areas sown across holdings engaged in horticulture.
Beef cattle grazing occurred on 2.5m hectares with 540,220 hectares of this being on improved pastures, while rotational grazing or cell grazing was practised by 51% of the holdings.
Broadacre cropping was undertaken by 23% of the holdings in the catchment. For these holdings, stubble incorporated into the soil was undertaken on 27,218 hectares and stubble was grazed on 11,737 hectares. Full cultivation was the most common land preparation method used (on 24,662 hectares) while minimal zonal till was used on 20,220 hectares.In this catchment, 47% of holdings engaged in broadacre cropping practised good farm hygiene as an alternate control method for weeds, pests or diseases.
Burrum River catchment
The Burrum River catchment covers 335,419 hectares and runs from Bundaberg in the north to Hervey Bay in the south. The catchment features a large amount of national park and state forest with land used for agricultural production (470 holdings) accounting for only 28% of the catchment area. Beef cattle grazing (233 holdings), sugar cane growing (206 holdings) and horticulture (174 holdings) were all common agricultural activities in the catchment.
Throughout the Burrum River catchment 59% of all holdings irrigated. Of those, 66% utilised efficient irrigation equipment, a quarter reduced water losses by piping or covering/lining channels and a further 32% reused tail water as a part of managing irrigation water. Almost half (44%) of all holdings changed farm layout to industry best practice as a method to avoid "off farm" chemical loss. Holdings in this catchment applied 77,095 tonnes of fertiliser during 2008-09. Just under half (49%) of the fertiliser applied was mill mud/ash (37,555 tonnes).
In this catchment, 40% of all holdings undertook soil testing for nutrients. Of those who conducted soil testing, 66% was carried out prior to planting with sampling across paddocks (50%) being the most commonly used soil testing strategy.
Mary River (Qld) catchment
The Mary River (Qld) catchment is located south of Hervey Bay and occupies an area of 942,646 hectares. The Mary River is different to most major rivers entering the Great Barrier Reef in that it flows mainly in a northerly direction, rather than easterly, flowing through Gympie and Maryborough before entering the Pacific Ocean west of Fraser Island. The two main centres of the catchment, Gympie and Maryborough are both prone to flooding, which has caused extensive damage to agriculture and properties in the past. Beef cattle grazing was the most common agricultural activity (1,396 holdings) with small amounts of sugar cane growing (146 holdings), broadacre cropping (75 holdings) and horticulture (163 holdings) also present. Land mainly used for agricultural production (1,577 holdings) covers 38% of the catchment.
In this catchment 25% of all holdings keeping beef cattle actively controlled stock access to riparian areas. In addition, 15% reported that no rivers or creeks featured on their holding. Holdings in this catchment reported relatively low adoption rates of surface water run-off management practices.
Nearly all (99%) of the area sown for horticulture was used for the growing of fruits, berries or nuts.
For those holdings reporting beef cattle, 25% actively controlled stock access to riparian areas.
In this catchment, 59% holdings growing sugar cane left trash untouched with 25% removing trash by hot burning (cane fire). In addition, 90% of sugar cane holdings applied fertiliser, with cost (71%) being the most commonly reported method used to decide how much fertiliser to apply.
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