24 May 2019


Through Project Pioneer, WWF-Australia works with farmers and other partners to reduce the environmental impacts of beef production on wildlife and the Great Barrier Reef.

Despite recent improvements in land management, beef production remains one of the main threats to the health of the Great Barrier Reef, due to high levels of sediment and other pollutants in run-off from grazing land.

What can we do about this? Adopting Reef-safe farming is key. Sustainable farming practices not only improve water and soil retention but can also lead to increased productivity and profitability.

Meet the Robinson's

Kale and Karin Robinson of Hillsborough Station (an hour and a half from Townsville) are one family who have undertaken significant changes to their land and livestock management through Project Pioneer.

Among the biggest changes the Robinsons have implemented is the introduction of rotational grazing.

Through this practice, herds are kept together and graze paddocks at higher density for shorter periods, sometimes just a day. The cattle are frequently moved giving each paddock a long rest. With long rest periods, grass cover improves, soil health recovers, erosion is reduced, the soil’s ability to absorb water is boosted, and in turn the cattle benefit.


The Robinsons have recently built new cattle yards with a low-stress focus. The design takes into consideration the behaviour of the cattle, while decreasing labour requirements and increasing safety.

Combined with new on-farm technology these practices are expected to help maintain and increase pastures, and prevent sediment run-off and soil loss, ultimately boosting productivity and profitability.

Hillsborough Station is home to a number of waterways, including Eight Mile Creek and Banana Creek and part of Barratta Creek, which all flow into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. By implementing new farming practices that prevent run-off, the Robinsons are playing an important role in reducing environmental impacts of beef production on wildlife and the Great Barrier Reef.

Learn more about how the Robinson’s have found ways to improve productivity and production, while also protecting the Reef. Read the full case study.