image of farmer on healthy pasture looking at a degraded paddock

ADOPTING REGENERATIVE PRACTICES

You can do it!

Australian farmers and land managers have long been recognised for their resilience and adaptability. Harness these characteristics to ensure wide adoption of regenerative approaches to landscape management to support sustainable production and address degradation of the Australian landscape.

Together, by better managing our soil, water, vegetation and animal systems through improved knowledge and a capacity to mimic, as far as possible, Australia’s highly effective natural processes, we CAN regenerate our landscape and enjoy healthy, profitable farming.

All of us, particularly those concerned with the landscape, must become landscape literate. We can start change from the ground up - in the paddock - and hopefully bring about a paradigm shift in thinking by research institutions, rural communities, funding agencies and governments to support regenerative landscape management practices across Australia.

Get started now...





Case study participant Anne Maslin of Gunningrah shares her experience of adopting regenerative landscape management:





PRINCIPLES FOR REGENERATING YOUR LANDSCAPE

In adopting regenerative landscape management practices, the following principles emerged across the Soils for Life case studies, regardless of enterprise or location - once they made the decision to act.

Perhaps they will help you to get started on your regenerative journey?


Manage holistically  

Think of the entire system, and have your own financial, environmental and social goals. Seek to address underlying causes and maximise natural system functioning rather than just dealing with visible symptoms.

 

Care about the land as a resource  

Manage production to suit the capacity of your land. Adjust stocking or change or integrate enterprises to enable regenerative practices and sustainable production.


Commit to education and constant learning  

Research widely, try different things and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Adapt practices to suit your own circumstances.


Search out communities of interest for help and advice  

Not everyone is comfortable talking about or trying regenerative landscape management practices – but there are many who are and they are also willing to share ideas and provide support. These communities are an invaluable resource.


Improve the structure of soil, through enhancing organic matter content  

A healthy soil underlies everything – literally. Learn about soil and seek to restore its physical, mineral and biological balance. Start with increasing organic matter to produce soil organic carbon.


Use and conserve rain where it falls  

Improved soil structures and increased vegetation will enable you to capture rainfall and have it infiltrate the soil to support your plants and animals for longer.


Strive for maximum ground cover, for the majority of the time  

Groundcover and vegetation not only protects the soil from erosion and loss, but also builds more soil. Manage your stock and landscape to ensure pastures have adequate rest and recovery to thrive.


Work on best land first and extend from there  

Maximise production on the best performing areas of the property first. Use additional income to invest in poorer performing areas without compromising cashflow.


Manage in times of plenty for times of shortage  

Conditions will always change. By enhancing your landscape through improving soil health, water-use efficiency, maintaining groundcover and adjusting your stocking rate to match your land’s carrying capacity, you will build resilience to a changing climate and enable sustainable production.


Reduce reliance on inputs  

Reduce or cease the use of chemical fertilisers and bio-cides (herbicides, pesticides, etc.) to support biodiversity and enable healthy biological functioning and nutrient cycling. Save money too!


Observe, measure and respond   Keep records and photos to show incremental changes and inform you which practices are working and which are not so you can extend or change them for best effect.




REGENERATIVE TECHNIQUES

Regenerative techniques applied by the Soils for Life case study participants include:

  • Applying organic composts, fertilisers and bio-amendments;
  • Encouraging natural biological cycles and nutrient transfer;
  • Implementing time-controlled planned grazing;
    - Download a Guide to Planned Grazing to set up a trial on your property. Courtesy of NRM South.
  • Using grazing management and animal impact as farm and ecosystem development tools;
  • Retaining stubble or performing biological stubble breakdown;
  • Constructing interventions in the landscape or waterways to slow or capture the flow of water;
  • Fencing off water ways and implementing water reticulation for stock;
  • Investing in revegetation;
  • Pasture cropping;
  • Direct-drill cropping and pasture sowing;
  • Changing crop rotations;
  • Incorporating green manure or under-sowing of legumes;
  • Managing for increasing species diversity;
  • Reducing or ceasing synthetic chemical inputs; and
  • Integrating enterprises.

Read more in their case studies and on our Blog.


Dealing with the challenge of change

The farmers and land managers in the Soils for Life case studies serve as great role models, as they have seen the need for change, dealt with challenges and successfully managed changes to the operation of their enterprises.

Our case study farmers highlight the challenges encountered and overcome in changing behaviours and adopting regenerative landscape management practices. These include:

  • breaking away from the status quo
  • challenging their own knowledge and mindset
  • learning new and different theories, techniques and approaches
  • maintaining confidence and persistence in applying regenerative practices against their own and others’ traditional value

Read their stories...

We all appreciate that change is difficult, but it seems to be particularly so in landscape management. The number of farmers who have successfully transitioned to regenerative landscape management practices is small - but growing.

Make the decision to manage your landscape and build resilience against a changing climate and market fluctuations.

Commitment and persistence are key, as are an openness to learn about and try new things, and a willingness to reach out to a community for support and to make use of the many useful resources and support organisations available.


images of poor soil improving to lush pasture