Stories in this Theme

Polly wanna peanut?

The peanut growers of Lakeland in Cape York have found an innovative way to stop Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos ( Calyptorhynchus banksii ) from eating their peanut crops - they grow a field of peanuts specifically for the cockatoos.

Growers had suffered significant losses to the birds, who have been visiting the area for hundreds of years to eat seeds from bloodwood trees, and have in recent years developed a liking for peanuts. Growers were forced to shoot birds to scare them away, but the birds invariably returned. Killing birds didn't work.

This booklet, produced by Tropical Savannas CRC for Cape York Peninsula Pastoralists Landcare, explores fire management issues in central Cape York Peninsula. It describes the main country types and their grazing and wildlife values, as well as optimum fire management for maintaining them. It uses the make believe property, Pretend Plains, to demonstrate best practice fire management for cattle grazing, taking conservation into account, and provides a calendar for planning fire activities.

It can be downloaded as a complete document, or in separate sections:

The Ecograze project examined a number of pastoral properties in northern Australia to develop guidelines for sustainable grazing, and the maintenance of the desirable perennial grasses on which most grazing enterprises are based. The study found this was best done with either conservative stocking with continuous grazing, or a rotational grazing system that includes some wet season spelling. Wet season spelling also provided benefits to land condition.

A fire management plan designed for a model property on Cape York Peninsuala.

Guidelines for fire management over various types of grazing country across Cape York Peninsuala.

Protecting feed stocks, animals and wildlife, as well as the probable thickening of existing vegetation, are things to consider when using fire in the dry season.

The biograze project is concerned with managing the interactions between grazing and biodiversity. The rangelands — the dry pastoral lands — make up about 60% of Australia and are home to many animals and plants. Many of
these are not adversely affected by pastoral land use. Pastoralists know that there are grass and shrub species that change in abundance under different grazing pressures – some plants are decreasers under grazing, while others are

Below find the contact details for Aboriginal Communities of Cape York Peninsula

Hopevale Aboriginal Community
c/o Post Office
Hopevale QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4060 9133
Fax: (07) 4060 9131

Lockhart River Aboriginal Council
c/o Post Office
Lockhart River QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4060 7144
Facsimile: (07) 4060 7139

Why manage fire? Large areas of Cape York Peninsula are burnt each year, mostly by late dry season fires. The map below shows how often Cape York Peninsula was burnt by late dry season fires in the nine years from 1997 to 2005. Some areas, mostly rainforest, were never burnt by wildfires in this period;others were burnt nearly every year.

Cattle stations do it tough in dry years. But Peter O'Reagain and John Bushell from Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (QDPIF) don’t think that drought has to mean threadbare country, bony beasts, or massive financial losses for pastoralists.