12 September 2012 — Fat cows have given Queensland’s Running Creek Feed Test Station the edge to take home the Australian Government Innovation in Sustainable Farm Practices Award at the 2012 National Landcare Awards.

In their nomination, cattlemen Matthew Arkinstall and Warren Drynan, said while the ability to put on more weight with less food was not a trait most people wished for, in cattle it was highly desirable.

“The more efficiently cattle turn the feed they eat into beef, the cheaper the beef is to produce,” their nomination says.

“It is also more environmentally sound. Efficient cattle convert more of the energy they consume into growth, and lose less energy to the environment as methane – a potent greenhouse gas – or heat.

“That makes them more efficient to raise, which in itself contributes to less methane production. Because they grow and fatten faster, efficient cattle can be marketed earlier than less efficient animals, meaning they produce less methane over their lifetime.

“Also, because less fodder is needed to get efficient animals to sale weights, farmers have the ability to leave more pasture as protection against soil erosion.”

The awards were announced last week and included 14 categories including the People’s Choice Award – won by Youngtown Primary School in Tasmania and the inaugural Bob Hawke Landcare Award – won by New South Wales dairy farmer Lynne Strong.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joe Ludwig said the awards celebrated the achievements of what was a hugely important and active community movement.

“Landcare has grown from strength to strength and the work of the Landcare community is vital to the sustainability and preservation of our natural resources.”

The winners are:

  • Australia Government Individual Landcarer -Chris Scott – NSW
  • Australian Government Innovation in Sustainable Farm Practices – Running Creek Feed Test Station  – QLD
  • Australian Government Coastcare  – South West Rocks Dune Care  – NSW
  • Australian Government Local Landcare Facilitator  – Susie Chapman – QLD
  • Australian Government NRM – SEQ Catchments – QLD
  • Westpac Education  – North Dandalup Primary – WA
  • Be Natural Young Landcare Leader – Megan Rowlatt – NSW
  • Toshiba Community Group – Ellen Brockman Integrated Catchment Group – WA
  • Leighton Holdings Indigenous – Bunya Mountains Murri Ranger and Elders Council – QLD
  • Rural Press Primary Producer – Danny Flanery – NSW
  • Urban Landcare – Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee – NSW
  • Local Government and Landcare Partnership – Byron and Tweed Shire Councils – NSW
  • Bob Hawke Landcare Award – Lynne Strong – NSW
  • People’s Choice Award – Youngtown Primary School – TAS