Field day at Di and Ian Haggerty’s.
Building resilience by improving product value
The Haggertys continue to see improvements in their products. They find their wool is consistently good even in challenging climatic years. With self-selected diets of diverse pasture plants and improved genetic and microbiotic relations between their self-replacing herd and the landscape, they find that the quality of their wool has increasingly finer microns. They have recently entered a relationship with NATIVA wool, a high-end European wool company, which is supporting the farmers who are regenerating
soils and landscapes through wool production.
On the cropping side, they started a relationship with a stone ground baker in Perth. Not only does this spread their regenerative story locally, but it also helps get the nutritious grains to the community as quickly as possible. For the field day, the baker received grains on Sunday, ground them, baked bread rolls and delivered on Monday, ensuring very little time for their nutritional benefit to decrease.
Haggertys’ wheat turned into bread rolls by a local baker for the field day.
Building resilience in soils, landscapes and finances soil cores
The Haggertys continue to see improvements in the resilience of their soils and landscapes, as well as personal and financial resilience.
Through ongoing studies of their soils, they see on average five times less acid without having to apply lime. They calculate an extra 800 kg of nitrogen in their soil per hectare, without any fertiliser. They are also seeing a significant water recharge, with a 13% increase in soil water and a fresh-water lens developing on some of the landscape.
They are also thankful for their ability to continue to produce in increasingly unpredictable weather patterns. They used to have ‘eight good seasons out of every ten’. Now they feel it is closer to ‘two good seasons out of every ten’. Even so, in three recent years of 100ml rain total per year, they’ve still been able to maintain groundcover. Some of their greatest moments of joy are seeing the endangered species return.
In terms of financial resilience, Ian emphasised how avoiding fungicides, pesticides and fertilisers for almost 20 years has been a significant cost saver. Their five-year average operating efficiency is 56.4%. A good number here is considered to be below 65%.
Building resilience beyond the property boundaries.
While Di and Ian are trying to do all they can to steward their own landscapes towards improved health, they also recognise that the health of their farms are dependent on the health of the entire ecosystems in which they are embedded. Thus, the Haggertys have been fortunate to extend their operation to conjoined land, and land that adjoins revegetation programs to assist with influencing larger water cycles, and thus bacterial movement, across their catchment.
Di and Ian are upfront about the long hours they’ve had, and the challenging lessons, but even so, they wouldn’t change a thing. When asked about advice for others, Ian said ‘If we can do it here in a semi-arid location, anyone can do it. But go with 100% commitment to whatever you do.’ And Di added for those interested in Natural Intelligence Farming, ‘stop thinking and start connecting through the heart’.