The Benalla Sustainable Future Group series continues with this second instalment on sustainable farming and environmental responsibilityPETER AND CHRISTINE HOLMES, BENALLA SUSTAINABLE FUTURE GROUP February 2, 2012 11:00am
Sustainable Farming and Environmental Responsibility
In 2002, we purchased a small farm property in the beautiful Lima East valley.
The property infrastructure was very run down, but the ecological potential of the property was enormous, being blessed with two creeks and six spring-fed dams, and about one third of the property was covered by original or regenerating bush.
As this was a “working” farm, decisions had to be made regarding livestock enterprises and pasture management, as well as providing sufficient supplies of fresh water for the animals.
The easy and cheap way would have been to allow the animals to continue to have free access to the creeks and dams, and to promote pasture growth with the use of chemical fertilisers. Our very deep sense of environmental responsibility, and knowledge of the degradation of this country’s waterways over two hundred years of European habitation, taught us that we should not continue the “usual” practises, so we set about fencing off the creeks and the dams, and installing an alternative water supply system for the animals.
We now have in place a solar powered pump on a spring fed dam, pumping water to two 27,000 litre storage tanks, and gravity feeding water to troughs in every paddock of the property. We can visibly see the improvement in the water quality of the dams and creeks, and also in the vegetation around the waterways. There has been other tree plantings on the property to provide shelter for livestock and connecting corridors between existing remnant bush areas for wildlife. The birds and frogs now frequent these areas in greater number and variety than in 2002, despite the many years of dry seasons that we experienced until recently.
In place of chemical fertilisers, we have used natural rock phosphate and lime soil additives – slower acting maybe – but we believe much friendlier for the soil micro-organisms which help produce a better soil structure, and healthier pastures for the animals.
There is still a lot of work to be completed to reach our goal of a truly sustainable farming property, but we believe that the steps already taken will not only benefit our own property for the future, but have a positive impact on the water catchment downstream, especially if our efforts encourage others to take similar actions.
From a distance, it still appears as a vast expanse of water.
The Tungamah Citizen of the Year was an overwhelmingly popular choice this year.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
Offal exports from Tongala look to be one of the winners under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.
Students across the district will return to school this week as a fresh batch of nervous preps and parents alike prepare for the daunting prospect.
Will it be Merrigum or Lancaster?
Four men, including two Moama men and one Echuca man, were killed in a crash in Pyalong, southwest of Seymour, this morning.
Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Hundreds of people from across Victoria flocked to the inaugural Tooby Booby Festival to help raise money for breast cancer research on Sunday.
Recent weather conditions have come as a mixed blessing for farmers, with high rainfall and humidity providing a respite for irrigators as well as difficult growing and picking conditions for fruit growers.
Deniliquin region deemed ideal for paragliding by world's best.
From orchards to harvest to shelves, a new exhibition will celebrate the Goulburn Valley’s iconic fruit industry. The Photos of the Fruit Industry exhibition will run as part of the SheppARTon Festival in March and aims to share memories and history of an industry that has shaped the region.
Salvation Army Benalla Majors Heather and Peter Ellis have relocated to Melbourne.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.