At “Bluelight”, a property in Carinda, New South Wales, merino sheep and cattle are run on country know as the ‘Macquarie Marshes’.
Robert McLellan and his family call the 60, 000 acre property home, and deal with some a-typical conditions.
The Macquarie Marshes aren’t receiving any water at present, and there’s been a drought at play for the past two years. In an attempt to counteract Mother Nature, Mr McLellan is trialling ponding on some claypans on the property and planted salt bush trees.
He’s also trialling the mapping technology being made available through the NRM Spatial Hub.
“Our motivation to get involved in the project is to get a better handle on current ground cover and fodder availability for stock,” Mr McLellan said.
“We will also use the technology to properly monitor ground cover long-term and hopefully gain a better understanding of when to remove stock from paddocks,” he said.
The McLellan’s run 4, 500 ewes (plus progeny) and 900 cows (plus progeny) in an average year, and in a good year they take the opportunity to spell country after rain to let grasses to take hold.
“Increasing ground cover is a big focus for us in the years ahead,” Mr McLellan said.
“If we can use the Spatial Hub mapping tools to help monitor issues like this, it’s possible it will help to increase profit,” he said.
Mr McLellan also said moving with technology and understanding it would assist land managers to do things better during more difficult times on the land.
For now, what drives the family at “Bluelight” most is ensuring they stay profitable through the drought years and continue to keep their country in as good a condition as possible.