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Soils for Life Blog

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Inherent resilience in biodiverse perennial pastures

Tallawang. Read Craig’s own experience of how the resilience in his pastures as a result of his regenerative farming practices enabled him to effectively manage the climate extremes experienced at the beginning of 2013.     On 19 February, Nicky and I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with the self confessed lunatic farmer Joel Salatin [of Polyface Farms in the USA]. It was a refreshing insight into his views on a wide ....

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Making the most of vegetation

maximising ground cover, some of our case studies have demonstrated strong production and economic benefits from making the most of revegetation on their properties.   What trees can do for you… Trees can improve agricultural production by providing shade and shelter that protects stock and crops from wind and extremes of heat and cold. Vegetation contributes to an effective water cycle. Together with extensive, slow biodegrading litters, diverse woodland communities reduce surface wind speeds and extreme temperatures that would ....

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Improving pastures

  essential ecosystem servicesthat nature provides. Ensuring continuous ground cover is particularly important to restoring landscape health.   In our last post we mentioned that livestock grazing accounts for use of 55% of Australia’s land area [1]. While overgrazing is a well-documented cause of landscape degradation, regenerative practices, such as planned grazing and intelligent use of livestock has been demonstrated to restore groundcover and landscape health (watch this presentation by Allan Savory). By adopting these practices, we therefore have the opportunity to ensure a thriving landscape across more than half of our country. The innovative farmers in ....

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Biodiverse vegetation - challenges and opportunities in agriculture

1].     It is this landscape degradation and related global challengesthat drive Soils for Life to encourage change in landscape management. As remnant vegetation continues to deteriorate, the land and soil degrades as topsoil is lost and erosion occurs [2]. Poorer soils are then unable to support regeneration of healthy vegetation and nutrient cycles break down. As discussed in earlier posts, nutrients are necessary ....

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Success in managing for rainfall variability

  Gunningrah where he discusses the outcomes attained on his property by changing his practices to effectively manage rainfall received.   (Read Part One)   PART TWO The results of the changes on Gunningrah We thought that the changes resulting from the grazing and stream interventions would have been slow, and maybe not noticeable to the eye for some time. This couldn't have been further from what happened on all fronts. First, the grazing management changes… With the whole farm change in the manner in which animals grazed, the resulting changes to ground cover and infiltration rates were quite rapid. The first thing we noted was that our 55 dams we once relied upon for stock, were no long reliable. A decade ....

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Changing practices to deal with rainfall variability

Gunningrah. Read Charlie’s own experience of why and how he changed to regenerative farming practices and the wonderful outcomes the Maslins have achieved on their property.   PART ONE Changes to the management of water on Gunningrah The variability we face on our southern Monaro property is the factor which drove us to make substantial changes to the way we manage water. This applies to both the rain which ....

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Managing Waterways

Many of the Soils for Life case study participants are applying techniques which are based on the natural hydrology of the Australian landscape and how nature evolved and sustained immensely productive and resilient biosystems despite Australia being such a dry continent. By understanding these hydrological processes, resilient water systems can be designed and restored. Restoring hydrological processes Australia’s landscape used to be characterised by ‘in-soil’ reservoirs. Complex microbial ecologies maintained soft deep soils which allowed for infiltration ....

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Maximising rainfall infiltration for production

last week) and maximise rainfall infiltration and retention to support longer production times, Soils for Life case study participants have focused on improving soil structure and increasing vegetative cover.   Improved infiltration through grazing management On a number of our case study grazing properties, time-controlled planned grazing has been implemented (many based on Allan Savory’s Holistic Management techniques). A key component of this form of grazing management is increased ....