Elspeth is nurturing the land
WHEN you get a 500ha cattle property at Dalveen as a birthday gift it's not charitable to find fault with the country, but Elspeth Cooper is tactful as well as objective.
The Southern Downs cattle producer jokingly describes receiving the grazing country as a present from her husband David, but truth is they both had their heart set on being in the bush.
A decade ago they shifted from New South Wales to the Granite Belt buying Glentanna, a grazing property with a mix of granite and clay soils.
Initially, the plan was for the land investment to be part of a semi-retirement move, with its location strategically chosen to allow David to continue doing some work in the medical field in Brisbane.
But for Elspeth, a mission to improve soil types on the property, and in turn lift native pasture levels, has ensured she's been busy ever since.
The Bush Tele caught up with this Landcare conscious local at a field day focused on soil nutrients and testing practices east of Warwick recently.
"We have had quite a wet winter, and it's been mild, so the pasture has held reasonably well," she explained.
"Our country is predominately native pastures.
"But we are always looking at how we can improve the soil condition, and in turn the pasture."
She is a staunch advocate of learning.
To that extent, Elspeth has enlisted the help of independent soil nutritionist David Hall to help identify issues on her property.
"I have always been very conscious of things like Ph levels, particularly in our type of country," she said.
"I firmly believe knowledge is key.
"The more you know, the more you understand.
"And the more you can do to improve really fundamental things, like soil nutrient levels.
"I am hoping soil tests across the property will identify different deficiencies, and allow us make informed choices when it comes to what we apply to make improvements."
Long term, her aim is to have encouraged significant quality pasture growth.
This in turn will benefit the 100 head of high grade commercial Angus cattle they run on the property.
"Our cows are calving at the moment, and like always, nutrition is important," Elspeth said.
"So, we are hoping what we do at soil level will have positive impacts on our overall operation, as well as the health of the land."