Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Natural Sequence Farming

We were supposed to host an afternoon at our place recently with Stuart Andrews and Gwyn Jones, to talk about what we might be able to do to apply some of the principles of a workshop series Kim has been doing "Applied Landscape Rehydration". The course has been designed by Peter Andrews and presented by his son and Gwyn. It would have been great to get some on the ground advice, however that was not to be......we had cattle problems and were tied up for most of the day! Our life has been very hectic on the farm lately, but it is frustrating when you get an opportunity like that and miss out!

We have done some courses on NSF and have seen some really good examples of it working. It's all about slowing up the flow of water, across the landscape and in the creeks and rivers. Click on this link to learn more about Peter Andrews and Tarwyn Park . One thing we seem to have had plenty of over the last couple of years of rain, but hanging onto it is the secret of rehydrating the landscape. We've done a lot here through cell grazing, and I think if you don't start with grazing management, it's not worth spending any money on doing anything else. We've got a couple of swales in. These are contour banks that are on the level and designed to slow down water as it moves across the land. These seem to work and there's certainly a lot more moisture below our swales. The water slows down and slowly seeps through the contour bank. Ours aren't quite NSF design, more permaculture design.

We really think that you need a mixture of land management principles in play to really make a difference and shouldn't get bogged down following one "ideal method".
  • cell grazing
  • permaculture
  • keyline
  • NSF
They all have a unique place - it's a matter of what suits best for a particular spot on your own land.

We had a wild storm the other night and this is what happened to my bananas.....all four trees that had bunches on got knocked over! The rain was a lovely top up for us though.

We did have a visit from some friends after the field day that was on a neighbours place. They had a look around our pigs and commented on how happy and healthy they look. We are trying to emulate the idea of cell grazing with the pigs as well, so it's reassuring when others can see that what we are doing is working. The only problem with pigs is that they are a little harder on the land and therefore it needs longer rest time.

Rest is the key to good grazing management and it doesn't matter if it's cows, pigs, goats, sheep or chickens. The land needs adequate rest time before grazing again - you need to look after the pastures that you want to keep.

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