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Boosting grass production in the tropical north

Creation date: 05 May 2019

Aerial application of Graslan™ herbicide has been shown to increase pasture production of grazing lands in the brigalow regions and dramatically improve live weight gains for northern graziers. 


Control of high-density regrowth species such as brigalow and the resulting increase in pasture yields has been improving the sustainability of the grazing industry in Queensland for decades.


In 1993, G.W. Fossett, DowElanco Aust Ltd and P.C. Venamore, Emerald Agricultural College, Blackwater, Queensland showed that aerially treated brigalow regrowth with Graslan at Blackwater, Queensland in November 1989 increased grass production twofold and resulted in dramatic live weight gains1


“The live weight advantages of steers grazing the area treated with Graslan was 31kg/head compared to similar steers grazing the control paddock at similar stocking rates,” said co-author Graham Fossett, now lead Graslan application coordinator. 


“Aerial application using Graslan is an integral part of woody weed and regrowth management and is crucial for maintaining good beef production country in the north,” he said.



Image: Paddock showing increased grass growth after Graslan aerial application 



Aerial application of Graslan is a full service model unique to northern Australia. FMC partner with independent local consultants and an experienced Queensland-based aerial applicator to deliver the service. 


Experienced independent local specialists are responsible for on-farm paddock inspections including GPS mapping of the area to be treated; an assessment of soil type, topography and vegetation; and interpretation and compliance with the Vegetation Management Act 1999 and reef protection regulations.  


Graziers are provided with a detailed prescription tailored to the specifics of the site and sign an all-inclusive one-price contract so there are no hidden costs or nasty surprises.


Precision application of Graslan, supplied through the grazier’s local rural retailer, is applied by Aero Professional Services (APS). Using the latest GPS and data mapping technology, APS application includes on-ground supervision, pilots, planes and loading machinery.  


FMC partners exclusively with APS for precision aerial application of Graslan. A market leader in this segment, APS use custom-built specialist precision application equipment and a highly experienced team of pilots and ground crew. 


“The APS team are experts in their field with well over 20 years’ experience applying Graslan behind them,” said George Saville, FMC head of sales.


The grazier receives a copy of the completed application log following application and a written performance guarantee is provided that is valid for two and a half years after application.


 “The field team oversee the application process of Graslan for maximum efficacy and compliance with legislations,” said Mr Saville. “They also provide the follow-up support essential for the unique performance guarantee provided to graziers using the product.” 


The written performance guarantee is a critical part of the Graslan offer and means that FMC will re-treat (at FMC’s expense) any areas of regrowth not adequately controlled by Graslan for up to two and half years after the original application.


“Treating regrowth is an investment,” said Mr Saville. “The written guarantee gives graziers peace of mind that they’ll get a result from their investment.” 


Mr Saville regards product stewardship – precision application, service and the backup guarantee that comes with Graslan – as a pivotal part of the offer.


“It’s the total package that makes the product so effective,” he said. “From the initial inspection, vegetation identification, rate calculation, and mapping; to expert aerial application and post application inspections; it’s a proven combination that eliminates mistakes.” 


FMC continue to invest in the aerial Graslan service, recently appointing Matt Ahern as an independent mapping consultant in Queensland’s Maranoa region.  


Mr Ahern is also a local grazier, breeding Romagnola cattle and operating a commercial and seedstock business 45km south west of Roma. His local knowledge of land types and vegetation will be valuable in his new field specialist role, providing specialised site assessments, aerial quotes and overseeing the aerial application process.


Mr Ahern is looking forward to working with rural retailers in the Maranoa to establish the Graslan aerial service in the region.



1 Source: “Evaluation of animal productivity and pasture yield after treatment of brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) regrowth with Tebuthiuron”, G.W. Fossett and P.C. Venamore, 1993)

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