Rosewood Station is located 100 km south west of Timber Creek, in north-western Northern Territory. Rosewood is 3000 km 2 and runs a total of 27,000 head when fully stocked. Fire is used on the property to reduce the risk of wildfire, manage grazing behaviour and to assist with pasture regeneration.Rosewood Station is located 100 km south west of Timber Creek, in north-western Northern Territory. Rosewood is 3000 km 2 and runs a total of 27,000 head when fully stocked. Fire is used on the property to reduce the risk of wildfire, manage grazing behaviour and to assist with pasture regeneration.
Rosewood experiences an average of 630 mm of rainfall a year, and the station boundaries encompass a variety of land types breaking the country into black soil and red soil areas. The most valuable cattle grazing country is the black soil areas which consist mostly of Mitchell grass, Flinders grass and Aristida species.
Fuel loads, burning strategies and wildfire prevention
Rosewood station borders onto Aboriginal land to the east. Much of this land is very lightly stocked and thus fuel loads can be quite high, potentially creating a major wildfire risk. To combat this, the manager and staff carry out a lot of preventative burning strategies to reduce the risk of fires crossing the boundary.
Rosewood has over 700 km of bore roads which are graded with two cuts, these prove to be an excellent fire break and provide a good break to burn off in the early wet. Roads and fencelines are used as fire breaks to stop fire or burn off from, should any area face the risk of being burnt from a wildfire.
Most preventative (fuel reduction) burning is begun in early December with the last chance for burning utilised in April. Opportunistic burning is carried out from helicopter and Toyota, and burns areas where fuels are prolific and fire appears to be a potential threat. Burning of black soil country is avoided due to the uncertainty of the response of the black soil species.
Burning on red soil country
It has been found that once red hilly country (stocked) on Rosewood has burnt, fire will not be a major threat in that region for about another 3 years. Burning the red soil country promotes fresh regrowth and encourages cattle to move out to the hills away from the bore in the wet season. This is an important component of spelling the country around the major watering points and allows the pastures in these areas to regenerate without heavy stocking pressure.
Fire, Vegetation and Native Pasture
Fire is also used on Rosewood to assist the germination of introduced stylos pasture ( Stylosanthes scabra ). Red soil areas are burnt preceding the spread of stylos seed to reduce competition from other grasses. By knocking back other grasses with fire, stylo seeds can reach the ground and have a better chance of germination due to reduced competition for moisture, light and nutrients. Burning creates a bed of ash that the stylos seed will sit in before the rain. Stylos is spread from the air, where the seed is distributed by a shute from the helicopter.
A major component of the effective fire and pasture management on Rosewood station, is the identification of high fuel load areas, and good background knowledge of the country. Boundaries, roads and fencelines are well maintained for access to country and fire breaks, and good relations with neighbors are maintained to ensure that wildfires are not a major threat to land and livestock. The combination of good knowledge of the country and its parameters, as well as neighboring country has resulted in good land management on Rosewood station.