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Grazing Naturally on Merluna Station

Cameron and Michelle MacLean have owned Merluna Station, a north western Cape York grazing property, since 2004. Cape York NRM’s Andrew Hartwig started working with the couple in 2019 as part of the Healthy Farming Futures project which supports graziers in the Cape’s western flowing catchments to improve ground cover, soil condition, and vegetation biodiversity in order to reduce erosion and improve the water quality of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Cameron MacLean spoke to Cape York NRM about what this means for Merluna.

"Michelle and I have owned Merluna for 16 years and it’s under a grazing lease. Our key goal for the property is to keep it pristine, as well as productive. I believe we can do both.

We’ve got a small grazing operation and are practicing Dick Richardson’s Grazing Naturally techniques to improve the health of soil, the grass, the cattle and the country.

The main principle of the Grazing Naturally methodology is paddock rotation, varying grazing pressure on individual paddocks to drive grass growth and provide cattle with fresh green grass, while occasionally allowing each paddock to have a rest year.

Natural grazing means looking after the country and in turn, the country will look after the cattle. This leads to an increase in biodiversity, a decrease in costs, and eventually, a sustainable business.

Natural grazing means the country will get stronger and stronger, and if you get it right, it can take a hit, a drought or cyclone, and still feed cattle. 

This project is supported by Cape York NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program