Innovative farming case studies

CASE STUDIES - landscape regeneration in practice

Learn from those who are successfully practising regenerative landscape management and adopt these practices on your property.

Download our individual case studies via the table or map below.

You can download the full Soils for Life Report Innovations for Regenerative Landscape Management and the full set of case studies, or order a hard copy of the Report on our Publications page.

SOILS FOR LIFE CASE STUDIES

In 2012 Soils for Life identified a number innovative farming enterprises and landscape management organisations achieving success through regenerative landscape management. These farmers are demonstrating profitable and sustainable farming while continuing to improve the natural resource base. We captured their experiences in the case studies below. The Soils for Life team is extremely grateful for the openness and hospitality shown by each of our case study participants in sharing their stories.

Watch the summary of what we found:



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DUKES PLAIN

image of Shane and Shan Joyce

Shane and Shan Joyce
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30km south of Theodore, Southern QLD Brigalow Belt

'Delivering continuous improvement of the farming resource'

Enterprise: Producing certified organic beef on 3000 hectares

Motivation for Change: Inputs and maintenance costs exceeding production returns

Innovations: Comprehensively monitored and measured time-controlled planned grazing; soil improvement using biodynamic methods; all organic management

Innovations Commenced: 1993

BOKHARA PLAINS

image of Graham and Cathy Finlayson

Graham and Cathy Finlayson
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35km north of Brewarrina, NSW North West

'Reaching the real potential of the NSW rangelands'

Enterprise: Beef cattle agistment and trading on 7200 hectares of NSW rangelands

Motivation for Change: Identifying the potential to improve the landscape and production

Innovations: Using stock to convert bare ground and claypan across 50% of their property to productive land; Holistic Management techniques to regenerate the rangeland; stock trading to balance stocking rate with pasture availability; diversifying into tourism

Innovations Commenced: 2001

SHANNON VALE STATION

image of Sally and Greg Chappell

Sally and Greg Chappell
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12km east of Glen Innes, NSW Northern Tablelands

'Weed control without herbicide is not a load of bull'

Enterprise: Angus bull breeding from high performance seed stock on 1450 hectares

Motivation for Change: Drought, economic viability and gaining a deeper understanding of biological cycles

Innovations: Overcoming weed invasion through addressing soil health; organic fertilisation tailored to soil and plan nutrient requirements; no cultivation or herbicides; managed grazing pressure

Innovations Commenced: 2005

BEETALOO STATION

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The Dunnicliff family
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60km east of Elliot, 800km south of Darwin, NT Barkly Tablelands

'First add water'

Enterprise: Brahman and Brahman-Senepol cross beef production on a 1,000,000+ hectare property

Motivation for Change: Previous experience that water supply is critical for productive grazing on vast properties

Innovations: Delivering a reliable water supply to support grazing across vast areas of previously unused native rangelands; establishing smaller paddock size on a very large scale to concentrate grazing animals to ensure managed use of pastures and continuing improvement of soils

Innovations Commenced: 2002

THREE RIVERS STATION

image of Ben and Graham Forsyth

Ben and Graham Forsyth
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230km north of Meekatharra, 1000km north east of Perth, WA Mid West

'Restoring the Gascoyne rangeland - commitment, cooperation and hard work'

Enterprise: Bos Taurus beef production on 480,000 hectares

Motivation for Change: Degraded landscape unable to support stock

Innovations: De-stocking of property to allow for regeneration; construction of strategic earthworks to slow surface water flow, restore water flow to wetlands and floodplains, reduce erosion, build soil and promote perennial pasture regeneration

Innovations Commenced: 2004

CLOVER ESTATE

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David Clayfield
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Mil Lel, 15km north east of Mount Gambier, SA South East

'Turning sand into fertile soil with applied soil science'

Enterprise: Contract rearing of dairy heifers on 100 hectares

Motivation for Change: Rising production costs and animal health concerns

Innovations: Converting sand into fertile, healthy soils; introducing biologically-based soil conditioners to balance the mineral and microbial status of the soil; strategic use of foliar fertilisers; ceasing chemical inputs

Innovations Commenced: 1995

JILLAMATONG

image of Martin Royds and Trish Solomon

Martin Royds and Trish Solomon
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5km south west of Braidwood, NSW Southern Tablelands

'Don't measure success by the size of your herd'

Enterprise: Beef cattle raising, agistment and trading and various cottage industries on 453 hectares

Motivation for Change: Learning about Holistic Management

Innovations: A number of complementary approaches founded on Holistic Management thinking; time-controlled planned grazing within carrying capacity, designed to facilitate nutrient movement; replacing ploughing with surface cultivation and direct sowing; Natural Sequence Farming approach to watercourse management; use of organic wastes as fertilisers

Innovations Commenced: 1994

GUNNINGRAH

image of Anne and Charlie Maslin

Anne and Charlie Maslin
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20km north west of Bombala, NSW Southern Tablelands

'Shifting mindset from animals to the land'

Enterprise: Angus beef, sheep and goat meat production and medium wool Merinos on 4200 hectares

Motivation for Change: Ecological deterioration and dependence on rainfall for profit

Innovations: Managing landscape to better capture rainfall, constructing leaky weirs across creeks and gullies; time-controlled planned grazing matching stock numbers to land carrying capacity; introducing goats for weed control

Innovations Commenced: 1995

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LANA

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Tim Wright
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22km west of Uralla, NSW Northern Tablelands

'Partnering farm animal to regenerate the land'

Enterprise: Fine Merino wool, fat lambs and beef production on 3350 hectares

Motivation for Change: Excessively high costs of production and the opportunity to better use the grazing animal

Innovations: Holistic Management against 10 key principles; time-controlled planned grazing using stock for nutrient movement, enhancing soil fertility and vegetation management; increasing sheep and cattle production despite reduced rainfall

Innovations Commenced: 1990

TALLAWANG

image of Craig Carter and Nicky Chirlian

Craig Carter and Nicky Chirlian
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Willow Tree, 60km south west of Quirindi, NSW North West Slopes and Plains

'Productive greener pastures through restoring landscape hydrology'

Enterprise: Beef cattle and sheep trading on 445 hectares

Motivation for Change: Disenchantment with 'traditional' grazing methods in producing a healthy landscape and adequate returns

Innovations: Restoring landscape hydrology through construction of leaky weirs and swales to slow water flow; time-controlled planned grazing in wagon-wheel design; stock trading

Innovations Commenced: 2002

TALAHENI

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Robyn and John Ive
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Near Murrumbateman, 40km north of Canberra, NSW Southern Tablelands

'Reducing dryland salinity and achieving resilience by design'

Enterprise: Ultra-fine Sharlea wool, Angus beef and farm forestry on 250 hectares

Motivation for Change: Non-viability of previous management and identifying the opportunity to apply practical ecological science

Innovations: Substantial revegetation to manage salinity; strategic paddock design; planned grazing strategies, particularly addressing fodder supply and drought conditions

Innovations Commenced: 1980

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WINONA

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Colin Seis
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20km north of Gulgong, NSW Central Highlands

'Pasture cropping the way to health'

Enterprise: Merino sheep, rams and wool, grain crops and native grass seed on 840 hectares

Motivation for Change: Loss after major bushfire necessitating establishment of a low-input agricultural system

Innovations: Developing and implementing 'pasture cropping'; time-controlled planned grazing; 'vertical stacking' of enterprises - cropping, native grass seed, sheep wool and meat; sequestering significant amounts of soil carbon

Innovations Commenced: grazing management: 1989 / pasture cropping: 1993

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MILGADARA

image of Bill and Rhonda Daly

Bill and Rhonda Daly
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20km east of Young, NSW South West Slopes

'Putting life back into the soil - humus compost'

Enterprise: Cereal, canola and legume crops, prime lamb and humus compost production on 1182 hectares

Motivation for Change: Health concerns and disillusion with 'chemical' farming

Innovations: Developing and applying humus compost; focusing on soil structure, biology and mineral balance; legume under-sowing of crops

Innovations Commenced: 2001

INVERARAY DOWNS

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Cam McKellar
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10km south of Spring Ridge, NSW North West Slopes and Plains

'Higher quality food through regenerated soils and reduced inputs'

Enterprise: Irrigated grain, seed and legume crops, cattle agistment and organic compost production on 1250 hectares

Motivation for Change: Prohibitively high-input crop production system

Innovations: Changing crop rotation to better support soil biology; changing from inorganic to organic fertilisers; application of compost fertiliser to increase soil organic matter; integrating grazing with cropping. Regenerating soil structure and nutrient dynamics to produce healthier food with reduced inputs

Innovations Commenced: 2000

BRIANDRA

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Brian and Sandra Wilson
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Mingay, 16km north of Lismore, 170km west of Melbourne, VIC Western Plains

'Using raised beds and beneficial fungi to restore soil health'

Enterprise: Cereal, oilseed and pulse crops and Merino sheep grazing on 1073 hectares

Motivation for Change: Needing to diversify to maintain production and address waterlogged soils

Innovations: Raising crop beds to improve waterlogged soils; using brewed cellulose-digesting bacteria and fungi combined with grazing to manage cereal stubbles; spreading biological blend on soils

Innovations Commenced: raised beds: 1996 / biological blends: 2002

PROSPECT PASTORAL COMPANY

image of Ian and Dianne Haggerty

Ian and Dianne Haggerty
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Wyalkatchem, Dowerin, Cunderdin and Meckering districts, around 190km north east of Perth, WA Central Wheatbelt

'Against all odds: turning sand into profit'

Enterprise: Cereal grains and cereal hay crops, specially-bred sheep for wool and premium grade fat lambs across 8000 hectares

Motivation for Change: Reducing rainfall and rising input costs

Innovations: Introducing biological fertilisers and zero tillage to improve soil function and structure; integrating grazing with cropping to enhance nutrient cycling and soil structure; revegetation to limit spread of salt

Innovations Commenced: 1994

PINE LODGE

image of Ian and Wendy Klein

Ian and Wendy Klein
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Shepparton, VIC Central North

'The influence of effuent - the power to do good'

Enterprise: Organic irrigated dairy, 261 hectares

Motivation for Change: Health concerns and the desire to try natural farming methods

Innovations: Using beneficial bacteria to treat dairy effluent for use as fertiliser; laser levelling of paddocks and enhancing the water reticulation system; composting, foliar and bio-fertilisation; all organic practices

Innovations Commenced: 1996

NORTH EAST CMA

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Catchment region bounded by the Murray River in the north, Victorian Alps in the south, NSW border in the east and the Warby Ranges in the west. VIC

'Empowering farmers to meet the soil carbon challenge'

Program: Sustainable Farm Practices - Soil Carbon Programme

Program Motivation: Identified lack of knowledge on understanding soil tests and practically managing soil fertility, structure and health to improve farm production

Program Activities: Soil Testing - multiple tests for over 500 farmers and seminars on interpreting results; Training and Education - provision of agronomy sessions, field days, seminars and e-Farmer training focused on improving soil carbon content and sustainable farming; Quality Management - post-activity surveys, helpdesk feedback and ontoing communications

Program Commenced: 2009

NRM SOUTH

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The Southern Tasmania Natural Resource Management region covers 2.5 million hectares across South and Eastern Tasmania

'Working with the willing'

Program: Living Soils and Building Evidence for Regenerative Agriculture

Program Motivation: The need for tailored solutions and low risk trials for farmers interested in trying new land management practices

Program Activities: Tailoring support to land manager requirements in promoting the uptake of sustainable management practices, including high levels of engagement; supported trials of planned grazing incorporating formal monitoring processes and selected demonstration sites

Program Commenced: 2010



CASE STUDY LOCATIONS

Click on the property name to download the case study.

 case studies map Beetaloo Station Three Rivers Station Dukes Plain Shannon Vale Station Bokhara Plains Prospect Pastoral Company NRM South Briandra Clover Estate North East CMA Gunningrah Talaheni Jillamatong Inveraray Downs Lana Tallawang Winona Milgadara Pine Lodge

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

Anonymous commented on 15-Nov-2012 11:20 AM5 out of 5 stars
What fantastic stories. These farmers should be commended. Hopefully in the future all of our farmers will be using techniques such as these.
Rachelle Armstrong commented on 21-Jan-2013 10:53 AM5 out of 5 stars
These case studies are very professionally put together with valuable information. Thank you so much for the efforts. We want to print them and share them on our website to reach further people. Are they only in digital format at this stage?
SoilsforLife commented on 21-Jan-2013 01:05 PM5 out of 5 stars
Due to popular demand, we are currently out of hard copies of our case study report. We hope to print more in 2013. Please feel free to distribute digital copies of our case studies. Support wide adoption of regenerative landscape management practices!
norm cooper commented on 03-May-2013 07:28 PM5 out of 5 stars
I do like the format and initiative behind these stories. How do wwe go about submitting a case study
SoilsforLife commented on 06-May-2013 09:13 AM5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for your comment Norm. We expect to be calling for our next series of case studies from July 2013. We will be focusing in particular on regions and land use types not sufficiently covered in our first series. Keep an eye on the website for our call for expressions of interest.

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These case studies were produced with the support of:

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