Graham Finlayson and his wife Cathy bought their 7,200 hectare property “Bokhara Plains” in New South Wales off family in 1999 and a few years later started a long-term plan to introduce regenerative planned grazing.
Over the past decade the Finlayson’s managed to increase their carrying capacity to more than 1,200 cattle at the operations peak; but these days stocking rates vary and currently there is just 78 head on the property, mainly young bulls.
The reason for the reduced size of the herd is that they endeavour to match ‘stock rate to carrying capacity’ in relation to the Bokhara Plains twelve month rolling rainfall, which has seen over two years of consecutive monthly totals below 50% of average.
There is also a longer term goal to be more conservative in stocking rates to fit in more efficiently with on site manager Bill Finlayson’s role, and Graham Finlayson’s move off the farm in mid-2013 to join Sustainable Land Management Pty Ltd, better known as SLM Australia.
Mr Finlayson is the manager for cattle and grazing for SLM, a company that acquires and manages rural land on behalf of institutional investors, and aims to scale up regenerative, ecological farming systems that offer both financial returns and environmental benefits.
So with his significant understanding of, and interest in land management, it’s no surprise that Graham Finlayson is eager to take part in the NRM Spatial Hub project.
“To have access to up-to-date imagery and have the ability to cross reference that for grazing planning and long term monitoring is of huge benefit,” Mr Finalyson said.
“Ground cover should be every landholders main priority, so to have this technology that can measure that and keep good record of landscape improvement is of huge benefit for any operation,” he said.
Mr Finalyson has a self-confessed fascination with land managers ability to vastly improve landscapes, which is buoyed by an optimistic and positive attitude – despite Bokhara Plains enduring more than two years of drought conditions.
“Still managing the property intensively without actually being there in person is a great challenge,” Mr Finlayson said.
“But the big motivators keep us all going – we want to continually improve the carrying capacity on Bokhara Plains, and continue to influence landscape regeneration on a large scale.” he said
“There’s a willingness to continually learn and educate ourselves, and it’s critical to keep up with innovation in the industry – we just really enjoy what we do!”