MOONACRES REGENERATIVE FARMING DINNER

Jimmy Nardello, in collaboration with Clara Bateman from South Hill Soil Farm in Wildes Meadow and Luke and Pia from Tathra Place Free Range in Wombeyan Caves, will showcase the flavours that come from regenerative farming. Produce from other local farms that follow these practices will also feature heavily on our menu.

The food will flow with a few interspersed short talks from some of these soil saviours. The evening will lend itself to a long table Italian dinner celebrated as one would in the comfort of a family home.

Book here.

The Glenelg Story in less than 1 minute

This is hard country – prone to desertification – but the Chambers family saw that it could be profitable with some major changes, including the introduction of Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), an exclusion fence and a commitment to permanent pasture cover.

Watch this 1-minute summary of some of Jan and Graham Chambers’ regenerative practices and achievements.

More information about this regenerative agriculture story can be found in the full case study here.

THE ROTHESAY TRANSITION STORY

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Maddy Coleman grew up in the city, and her love of horses introduced her to agriculture. Years of experience working in diverse farming practice and ongoing training and education followed. Maddy has made changes to their initial Rothesay business model, proving that flexibility, formal and applied education and conversations with mentors are key factors in managing ongoing drought conditions.

Management changes on Rothesay include preserving ground cover using a different stocking model and fencing to allow rehabilitation of creeks and gullies. Maddy shares her experience in managing Rothesay using regenerative farming practices in this transition case study.

FARM FACTS

Rothesay, Blackville NSW

ENTERPRISE: Cattle trading

PROPERTY SIZE: 1,620 hectares

AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL: 691 mm

ELEVATION: 426 m

MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE

  • Drought

INNOVATIONS

  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Maintaining a high level of ground cover
  • Optimising soil hydrology
  • Feed budgeting
  • Conservative stocking rates
  • Rotational grazing

KEY RESULTS

  • Delivering cash flow in drought

INTRODUCTION

Maddy and Malcolm Coleman (her father) purchased Rothesay in 2016. They added the adjoining Springfield block two years later and now the combined Rothesay property comprises 1,629 hectares. While Malcolm visits to help occasionally, Maddy makes all the day-to-day decisions about managing the farm.

Rothesay is located on the foothills and lower slopes of the Liverpool Ranges, in the catchment of the Mooki River. Omaleah Creek and Black Creek run through and join on the property. The creeks only flow intermittently, so water for stock is obtained from bores. The long-term average annual rainfall as recorded at Blackville (2 km south of the farm) is 691 mm, with summer dominant rainfall pattern.

Deep cracking clay soils found on Rothesay

Paddock sub-division

Subdividing paddocks cost-effectively; one new trough can water up to four or more paddocks depending how paddocks are set up. Electric tapes are used to separate paddocks as required. Turning off water to the trough when the cattle have been moved on removes the attraction for kangaroos, and therefore helps reduce grazing pressure.

Carefully planned grazing enables paddocks adjoining creek lines to be rested long enough for tree regeneration to become established. The build-up of vegetation then retards storm flows, prevents erosion and leads to increased infiltration of run-off into the water table.

Shallow level channels carry water from the gully and allow it to disperse across the paddocks where it can infiltrate, rehydrating the soil.

Ground cover on Rothesay after two drought years. Maintaining ground cover during a drought ensures that topsoil is protected and rain that falls is able to penetrate, meaning pastures will grow back rapidly.

THE ROTHESAY STORY

While it is early in the story, indications are that Maddy Coleman is showing the way to considerably improve the resilience of her farm business.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Looking back, Maddy recognises that she made mistakes, but also knows they were learning experiences.


Prime Minister announces funding for Soils For Life

The Prime Minister announced funding for Soils For Life and the establishment of a National Soils Advocate Office at the Daily Telegraph’s Bush Summit held in Dubbo on 18 July, 2019.

The Prime Minister Morrison acknowledged that, “Healthy soils with high carbon content are essential for any serious water resource management policy.”

THE GLENELG STORY

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PERMANENT PASTURE IN A SEMI-ARID LAND

This is a common story in the history of Queensland farming, but it’s an inspirational story too. It’s a story of persistence, resourcefulness and resilience, self-sufficiency, acute observation of nature, the adoption of practical and cost-effective innovations and resilience to droughts and floods due to the property’s conservative grazing system.

Soils For Life has chosen Glenelg as a case study because it presents strong arguments for conservative stocking, comprehensive ground cover, soil hydrology and available water, thus preserving soil and biodiversity. The result is a profitable and productive enterprise. Our study took place when Glenelg had been in drought for 6 years.

FARM FACTS

Glenelg, Mungallala QLD

ENTERPRISE: Sheep, cattle grazing

PROPERTY SIZE: 4,000 hectares

AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL: 504 mm

ELEVATION: 432 m

MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE

  • Need to reduce grazing pressure and improve pasture

INNOVATIONS

  • Introduction of Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris)
  • An exclusion fence
  • Commitment to permanent pasture cover

KEY RESULTS

  • Management of kangaroos and wild dogs
  • Dramatically improved and sustainable pasture
  • Restored soil
  • No supplementary feeding for stock during drought
  • Reduction in desertification

INTRODUCTION

This is hard country – prone to desertification – but the Chambers family saw that it could be profitable with some major changes, including the introduction of Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), an exclusion fence and a commitment to permanent pasture cover.

Glenelg is near Mungallala, in a semi-arid part of Australia with pastoral activities being the dominant land use. Most rain falls in the summer months. The main pre-1750 (pre-European) vegetation types were Poplar Box, False Sandalwood, Wilga and various acacias, notably Mulga, Bendee and Bowyakka. The property carries sheep and cattle, with kangaroos contributing to total grazing pressure.

In line with State Government extension advice at the time, large areas of Glenelg were cleared by pulling a chain between two bulldozers from 1978 to 1981, and again in 1989, to control regrowth and promote pasture growth. These practices helped make the property a viable grazing operation and can be compared with many other properties in similar landscapes in Queensland and New South Wales where “woody weeds” rendered much of the landscape only suitable for goats.

During the 1980s, poisoning by Pimelea (probably P. trichostachya – Flaxweed, Spiked Riceflower) led to the loss of cattle. The maintenance of good ground cover was found to control the problem. In the late 1980s, Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) became well established over much of the property. This is in line with existing pastoral practice across large areas of northern and arid Australia.

Between 2014 and 2017, the Chambers constructed an exclusion/predator proof fence around the property. Kangaroos were herded off the property before sealing the fence and the remaining population was controlled and maintained at a sustainable level. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction in total grazing pressure and improved maintenance of pasture cover. The parts of the fence across Mungallala Creek are hinged, such that the fence lies flat in floods and can be easily restored to vertical afterwards.

This is a story of persistence and resourcefulness of the Chambers family (Harry and later Graham and Jan) over five decades on Glenelg station, Mungallala. The property exhibits remarkable resilience to the current drought – even posting a profit in adverse circumstances.

THE GLENELG STORY

In line with State Government extension advice at the time, large areas of Glenelg were cleared by pulling a chain between two bulldozers from 1978 to 1981, and again in 1989, to control regrowth and promote pasture growth.

ECOLOGICAL HEALTH

This ecological assessment commences in 1970, when Harry Chambers purchased the first parcel of Glenelg.

ECONOMIC HEALTH

The Chambers’ deliberate decision to maintain a consistent level of productivity through conservative stocking rates has translated into improved profitability despite poor seasonal conditions.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

For Jan and Graham Chambers, 2019 is looking good, with the expectation of a bumper profit in this tax year.