Grazing Industry

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The Drought and Climate Adaptation Program is helping the grazing industry in Queensland and across northern Australia through research, development and extension activities.



Delivering integrated production and economic knowledge and skills to improve drought management outcomes for grazing systems

Building a culture that supports drought preparedness and climate adaptation

Using cutting-edge social research and drawing on ‘kitchen-table’ discussions with drought-impacted graziers, this report discusses ways that government, communities and industry can work together to create a cultural shift towards greater drought preparation and resilience the Queensland grazing industry.

Report (PDF)

Central West Mitchell Grasslands—impact of climate variability on grazing management scenarios

Read about the impact of climate variability on the bio-economic outcomes of a range of grazing management scenarios.

Report (PDF) Read more

What are some of the barriers to improved drought preparation in Queensland grazing?

This report draws on social research involving grazing specialists and a small group of leading graziers to examine the factors that might limit decision making for improved drought preparedness and management in Queensland grazing enterprises, including the use of decision-support tools. Steps for overcoming these barriers are also discussed.

Report (PDF)

Fitzroy beef productions systems—preparing for, responding to and recovering from drought

Are you interested in how you can make your grazing business more profitable and drought resilient? 

In this report a range of management strategies and technologies are assessed which are aimed at making grazing businesses in central Queensland more profitable and drought resilient.  In addition, management options in drought response and recovery phases are assessed.
Report (PDF) More info

Northern Gulf beef production sytems—peparing for, responding to and recovering from drought

This report summarises alternative beef production strategies results for the Northern Gulf NRM region. Lower cost strategies to improve drought resilience, as well as drought response and drought recovery strategies, were also assessed.

Report (PDF) More info

Case studies

These case studies show how graziers improved their business using information provided through Drought and Climate Adaptation projects.

Clynt Johnstone

Mulga – your stock, your supplement – with Clynt Johnstone

Mulga – your stock, your supplement – with Clynt Johnstone
Clynt changed his supplement ration to improve cost effectiveness and productivity using the knowledge and networks he gained from attending a GrazingFutures workshop.
Read more (PDF)
Clynt Johnstone

NIRS and phosphorus testing

NIRS and phosphorus testing
Ben McKenzie implemented NIRS and phosphorus testing in his herd which improved the economics and effectiveness of his supplementary feeding program.
Read more (PDF)
Clynt Johnstone

Local graziers use economics to assist business planning

Local graziers use economics to assist business planning
Richard Judd used economic analyses to determine his best options after attending a DCAP workshop on maximising returns from high quality forages in central Queensland.
Read more (PDF)


Spreadsheet tools to assess drought response or recovery options

Objective, evidenced-based decisions can be difficult to make, especially when there are many variables outside of our control. To help make sense of it all and weigh up the risks and benefits of all the options, we have developed 13 easy-to-use spreadsheets, including step-by-step online tutorials.


Researchers from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) will help support Queensland graziers to manage drought and climate decision-making more effectively by developing tools including:

  • improving the Long Paddock website to support pastoral managers with a range of innovative tools, webinars, videos and information.
  • on-line land management tools and training for extension officers, educators and consultants, including safe-carrying capacity and property forage budgeting
  • a grazing systems modelling framework incorporating field data, remote sensing and models to support subsequent generations of scientists and landholders
  • improved knowledge of sequences of wet and dry years in Queensland that impact longer-term strategic decision-making

Information products and tools will be improved to support decision making in the grazing industry through a better understanding of the barriers to managing climate risk and drought preparation.

Social scientists from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) will engage with Queensland graziers, extension officers and scientists to identify barriers to drought preparedness.

The Northern Australia Climate Program (NACP), a partnership between the Queensland Government, Meat and Livestock Australia Donor Company and the University of Southern Queensland, is helping the grazing industry better manage drought and climate risks through:

  • improved reliability of multi-week seasonal and multi-year forecasts for Northern Australia
  • establishment of a network of ‘climate mates’ across the pastoral regions of Northern Australia to support delivery of climate information into regional extension and social networks
  • production of new products and information and integration into business management decision-making.

DAF staff are providing information to support improved profitability and resilience of Queensland’s grazing businesses. Economic analyses are being conducted for a number of regions across Queensland and a range of management strategies and technologies are being assessed that are aimed at making grazing businesses more profitable and drought resilient.  In addition, this project is examining options in the drought response and recovery phases.

More info

The DAF GrazingFutures team is working with industry partners to deliver production, business and climate information to build resilience and grow grazing businesses across Western Queensland.

More info

Customised forecasts of extreme rainfall and temperature events will help grazing and sugar producers to make more informed short and medium-term management decisions to improve farm profitability.

Palaeoclimate research will:

  • Reconstruct a 1000 year rainfall history for key locations in SEQ, based on palaeoclimate data.
  • provide a long-term drought risk assessment
  • Reassess the probability of multi-year drought in the light of insights emerging from the palaeoclimate information.

More info

Webinars and Videos

Improving profitability and resilience of beef businesses in northern Australia

Getting the “Inside Edge” in grazing land management

How to assess drought response and recovery options

Drought decisions webinar

FORAGE Awareness Videos

Understanding Percentiles in Climate Data

Understanding farm management economics


Scientific journal publications

Note: In chronological order

Cobon, D., Stone, G., Carter, J., McKeon, G., Zhang, B., Heidemann, H. (2020). Native pastures and beef cattle show a spatially variable response to a changing climate in Queensland, Australia , European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 114, March 2020, 126002

Cobon, D., Kouadio, L., Mushtaq, S., Jarvis, S., Carter, J., Stone, G., Davis, P. (2019). Evaluating the shifts in rainfall and pasture-growth variabilities across the pastoral zone of Australia during 1910–2010 . Crop and Pasture Science, 70(7):634-647.

Bowen MK, Chudleigh F (2019) Productivity and profitability of alternative steer growth paths resulting from accessing high quality forage systems in the subtropics of northern Australia:  a modelling approach.  Animal Production Science 59, 1739-1751. Available at

Bowen MK, Chudleigh F, Dixon RM, Sullivan MT, Schatz T, Oxley T (2020) The economics of phosphorus supplementation of beef cattle grazing northern Australian rangelands. Animal Production Science 60, 683-693.  doi: 10.1071/AN19088. Available at

Chudleigh F, Bowen M, Holmes B (2019) Farm economic thinking and the genetic improvement of fertility in northern beef herds. In ‘Proceedings of the 63rd Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) Annual Conference’. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Available at


For a full copy of the papers, contact:

Project leader – Dr Maree Bowen, DAF Rockhampton at

Principal economist – Fred Chudleigh, DAF Toowoomba at

NACP project leader – David Coban, University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Toowoomba at


Climate mates

Climate Mates (through the Northern Australia Climate Program) are helping the grazing industry across Northern Australia better manage drought and climate risks through a range of research, development and extension activities.

Walk over weigh trial

Read how the GrazingFutures team is trialling walk over weigh (WOW) technology to improve business decisions in western Queensland or watch the introduction video.

What’s on

Last updated: 1 April 2020