Tom Mann has been acclaimed for a lifetime of expert management of rangelands in northern Australia.

Story Jayne Cuddihy   Photos Sally Batt

From the saddle to the cockpit to the spreadsheet, there wasn’t an unfocused element of Tom Mann’s grazing business. After more than 50 years managing rangelands in northern Australia, he’s helped to set the industry standard and is recognised as a cattleman who has driven change. That legacy has been honoured by the Australian Rangeland Society with this year’s inaugural Excellence in Rangeland Management award. 

Today, Tom’s family owns and operates hundreds of thousands of hectares of grazing country in northern Queensland. They haven’t always followed fashionable approaches, but, rather, have found success at a crossroads of smart economical decisions and land management ingenuity.

“I’ve always preferred to move my cattle on horseback as it allows you time and opportunity to really observe the country around you,” Tom says. “You need to be aware of small changes in the grass ecosystem to make the best decisions for your business.”

“Tom is one of the best in the industry at following the market, knowing how much feed is on hand and accounting for erratic wet seasons,” says Bob Shepherd, a principal rangeland extension officer with Queensland’s Department of Agriculture. “Many people dabble in trading cattle, but few do it well, and even fewer do it well and maintain their country in good condition.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #144

Outback Magazine: August/September 2022