On The Land

5 June, 2024

‘Groundbreaking’ pasture renovation technology a first in Queensland

Farmers in the region will have a unique chance to observe an innovative pasture renovation technology in action during a demonstration day to be held on the Tablelands this week.

By Brigitte Daley

Tablelands Agronomist Sally Fields, Glen Drury and Dr Kerry Kelly discuss Glen’s pastures.
Tablelands Agronomist Sally Fields, Glen Drury and Dr Kerry Kelly discuss Glen’s pastures.

Terrain NRM is collaborating with Atherton Tablelands dairy farmer Glenn Drury who is trialling the SOILKEE Renovator on his Malanda farm.

Glen is utilising this new technology to improve the pasture biodiversity, quality and quantity, of pasture cover on this farm. 

The project is being funded through the Tropical North Queensland Drought Hub. 

Tablelands agronomist Sally Fields said the SOILKEE technology precision plants cover crops, in this case winter annuals and perennials, into existing tropical grasses, resulting in increased pasture diversity and resilience in slow-growing periods.

“We're super-excited to have this technology coming to Queensland and to have been able to support Glen in planning a demonstration site,” Sally said.

“We are also rolling out an informational video and a demonstration day so we can really fast track this information to farmers.” 

This is the first time this technology has been used in Queensland.

 Victorian beef farmer and inventor of the SOILKEE Niels Olsen will be presenting and will be available to answer any questions which farmers may have on the day.

The SOILKEE renovator is a specialised minimum till machine which has a system of rotating blades which only disturbs 18% of the soil so that there is 82% of undisturbed pasture remaining.

It creates a competition-free seed bed for successful germination.

The undisturbed portion protects the soil from the wind and water elements, ensuring minimal loss of topsoil if a weather event does roll in.

The unique action of the SOILKEE Renovator activates soil life.

Whilst creating the seed bed, the SOILKEE Renovator provides additional benefits of aeration and a green manure crop within the worked up portion, providing aerobic conditions and a food source that activates the soil fungi, bacteria and earthworm populations and the natural soil processes they perform.

“The renovator features a seeding box positioned above it, allowing for a wide variety of seed types and sizes to be efficiently dispersed through the SOILKEE,” Sally said.

“You can really go from tiny clover seeds up to a faba bean size which can be applied through the seed box as you're running over your land. 

“We see tropical grasses start to die off with frost over winter and as the season becomes drier. 

“The SOILKEE Renovator gives the ability to come in with winter annuals and perennials and basically plant a salad bar. 

“We are hoping to see pasture renovation that will be quicker with less downtime. 

“We are anticipating getting some really awesome soil health benefits from using this system as has been observed and measured already down south.”


The project has included Ecological Outcome verification (EOV) baseline monitoring to assess landscape function.  EOV measures the land as a living system.  It uses a host of ecological indicators - ground cover, water infiltration, biodiversity, soil carbon and health. 

EOV is a scalable and affordable methodology that farmers can use to measure regenerative outcomes on their land.  

If the results trend positive, EOV certification is granted and the farmer can apply for a Land to Market licence and display the Land to Market seal on their produce, so customers can be confident it came from verified regenerating land.  

Two long term sites and Ten short term EOV sites were established at “Glenview” in March this year.

Helen Lewis, Australian Holistic Management Co-op CEO will be at the SOILKEE field day presenting the farms EOV baseline monitoring report and will be available to answer any questions.  

USA farmer Molly Taylor said in the “Land to Market” website, “EOV has given our enterprise invaluable data to make better management decisions.  I would recommend EOV to any producer wanting to make positive changes on their landscape while connecting with a broader consumer base.”  

Properly managed livestock have the potential to improve soil fertility, sequester carbon, restore hydrologic function and increase biodiversity.  

“Glen has been planting winter cover crops for lots of years now and he has a really diverse mix of species across his farm from doing this,” Sally said. 

“To name a few at Glen’s farm, we see pinto peanut, chicory, plantain, vetch, creeping vigna, and the main staple tropical grass Brachiaria is dominant in the pasture.

“This system gives graziers more options for stock movements and carrying capacity during the cooler months.

"When cattle are managed holistically, they are both a powerful and essential tool in the regeneration of our landscapes.

“EOV promotes awareness and knowledge that cattle are tools in landscape repair.” 

Event INFO: 

Glenview Farm, 288 Malanda-Atherton Road 

at 9.30am on 6 June. 

Tickets at Eventbrite - Soilkee Renovator Demonstration Day Malanda. For further info email


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