New ideas lend powerful support to old Australian skills

Warren McEwan in organic pasture.
Warren McEwan in organic pasture. Tanya Easterby

WIDGEE beef producers and contractors Warren and Karen McEwan have dedicated two lifetimes of experience and study to the organic grazing skills they will share in Gympie tomorrow week.

Their aim is to produce an Australian food future good enough for their children and ours.

"We haven't used chemical fertilisers in eight years," Warren, a cattleman all his life, said yesterday. "We haven't used chemicals at all for five years.

"We haven't done tick treatment on the cattle for 30 years."

The tick resistance is due to brahman genetics in a herd which now includes angus bloodlines to improve eating quality.

The motivation is practical as well as idealistic. Organic methods, they say, are a lot cheaper.

"They get slaughtered at Nolans and go the Family Meats in Horseshoe Bend.

"I've known Allen Neal since he was a 15-year-old apprentice and they're our only outlet."

As contractors they do "everything from mustering cattle through to animal husbandry and consulting".

"Now there are lot more owners on smaller blocks, but there are still more cattle in south-east Queensland than the whole Northern Territory.

"We use the dogs to do low stress mustering.

"We charge more than other musterers but we've never lost a customer," he said.

"It doesn't matter if you have two cattle, 20 or 200, the skills are the same," said Karen, who holds a Diploma of Agriculture, specialising in beef production.

They are running a $55 a head information session on Saturday week, auspiced by RITE training with speakers from Hartbeat Training and Biosecurity Queensland.

Warren can provide details on 54840087.


Organic facts

  • No chemicals means cheaper results
  • Soil conditioners in cattle feed are distributed naturally and release nutrients already present in soil

Topics:  beef producers grazing organic food widgee

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