Miller's outlook on aiding pasture through regenerative ag

Miller's outlook on aiding pasture through regenerative ag

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NEW BEGINNINGS: Trawool Valley beef farmer James Miller, Woorough Commercial Cattle, has shifted to regenerative agricutlure on his 960-hectare property to improve pasture and productivity.

NEW BEGINNINGS: Trawool Valley beef farmer James Miller, Woorough Commercial Cattle, has shifted to regenerative agricutlure on his 960-hectare property to improve pasture and productivity.

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James Miller runs 700 head including 300 breeders.

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Trawool Valley cattle producer James Miller believes improving carbon soil levels is a win-win situation.

"Particularly if you're getting paid to do something that you probably should be doing anyway," he said.

Mr Miller along with his mum, brother and farmhand, Zoe Taylor, run Woorough Commercial Cattle and in the last 12 months have shifted towards regenerative agriculture to improve pasture and productivity.

Located between Yea and Seymour, the 960-hectare property is not what Mr Miller calls easy to manage.

"A lot of our land isn't flat or easy to work so regenerative agriculture is one of the few options we have to look after and improve the land.

"We're just starting the journey into regenerative farming so it's very much a transition year for us."

The operation breeds Angus cattle and features 700 head including 300 breeders.

The rationale behind the transition to regen ag for the Millers is largely about optimising the pasture recovery and increasing rates.

Related: Aussie company launches new technology to measure carbon in soil.

To make it happen, infrastructure is being bolstered on the property to establish more than 300 smaller paddocks up from 70 when the family were running their traditional operation.

"We're looking at nine to 12 months between grazes on those paddocks and the other aspect which is what we're starting to build on is grazing at the equivalent of 1000 animals per hectare," Mr Miller said.

"We do this essentially by using electric fence lanes which are 15 metres wide and up to 600 metres long.

"We use a temporary electric tape on the reel that sets how much of the lane the cattle have access to."

In order to achieve this style of grazing, more than 50 kilometres of single hot wire electric fencing is being installed with 3.4 kilometres of polyethylene pipe to sure-up water reliability.

Mr Miller said by following ultra-high density grazing principles, pastures were recovering quicker and soil health was improving.

"Soil carbon ends up being one of the major factors in whether your plants and soil are healthy and resilient and so I was looking at the best way to improve our soil carbon levels," Mr Miller said.

"At this stage, we haven't set up a carbon project yet but looking at the paddocks where we've been trialing the methods, they're looking the best they've ever looked."

A part of the transition to regenerative agriculture has been moving to one annual calving along with fattening and finishing stock rather than selling them as weaner calves.

"One of the reasons is so that we can attach the story of what we're trying to do to the end product," he said.

"We believe it is only something you can monetise if you're taking the stock through to the end."

Mr Miller said the increased rotational grazing method was in its infancy on his property, but signs were promising.

"The expectation is that the cattle are moved from paddock-to-paddock three or four moves a day," he said.

"We're just starting to implement that in a few places to see how manageable and effective it is but the signs are good."

Another way the pasture recovers is by Mr Miller's decision to combine the entire line of cattle into one mob.

"The main idea is to get the stock density," he said.

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