Soils for Life case study participants cooperating for soil care


Soils for Life case study participant Greg Chappell of Shannon Vale Station near Glen Innes, NSW was the guest speaker at a recent event hosted by Victoria’s North Eastern Catchment Management Authority (NE CMA) – also a subject of a Soils for Life case study.

On 31 August, the NE CMA conducted a ‘Soil Care’ workshop and field day at Markwood, near Milawa in Victoria. The lead speaker was agronomist Gwyn Jones of Integrated Agri-Culture. Gwyn addressed a wide range of soil care concepts, educating participants on how to score and record their soil health and providing monitoring and recording tools to assist decision making without the need for soil tests.

Guest speaker Greg Chappell’s presentation built on the concepts introduced and demonstrated by Gwyn. Greg showed, in straight forward and practical terms, how he and his wife Sally had turned an over-cultivated ‘weed-infested sand pit’ into a thriving Angus stud.

As described in their case study, Greg explained how abandoning chemicals and artificial fertilisers and substituting composting techniques helped to develop thriving pastures. These high quality and resilient pastures have been instrumental in choking out the widespread weed infestation that existed on their purchase of Shannon Vale, and now support the production of superb Angus bulls.

Greg was able to show that techniques and practices on Shannon Vale have reduced off-farm inputs by some 30% and have been driven from profits rather than from loans.

As a Soils for Life case study participant, the NE CMA demonstrated its three year program leading over 500 farmers work towards building soil carbon. Regular workshops and field days such as the one held on 31 August are a key part of the program’s activities.

NE CMA activities continue to publicise innovative approaches to landscape regeneration and involve farmers in their application.

An audience of some 35 NE Victoria farmers expressed great appreciation of the Soils for Life and NE CMA initiative in communicating soil care concepts and their practical application in the real-life experience of a farming family.

Expect Soils for Life and the NE CMA to continue promoting farmers talking to farmers: farmers showing the way!