Historic farm practices have wrecked the Australian landscape but introduced plants can help in its recovery, controversial farmer Peter Andrews said at Goulburn Murray Landcare’s annual farm forum in Kialla last Wednesday.ALEXANDRA BATHMAN June 17, 2014 3:20am
Historic farm practices have wrecked the Australian landscape and introduced plants can help in its recovery, controversial farmer Peter Andrews said at Goulburn Murray Landcare’s annual farm forum in Kialla last Wednesday.
‘‘This was the most brilliant landscape,’’ Mr Andrews said.
‘‘We need to take responsibility for how it got in the mess it is in.’’
His alternative approach to land regeneration was criticised for more than 30 years but was ultimately recognised in 2011 when he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal.
Mr Andrews is the founder of natural sequence farming and told people at the Goulburn Murray Landcare farm forum, farmers needed to understand their farming systems were flawed.
His sequence aims to rehydrate farming landscapes and regenerate soils by rebuilding the natural waterways destroyed during European settlement.
‘‘Water is the most destructive force if not managed,’’ Mr Andrews said.
His method of farming also involves planting more trees such as the willow tree (most species are classified as weeds in Australia) and allowing weeds to grow.
To put it simply, Mr Andrews said Australians had ‘‘wrecked the joint’’ and continued to ignore self-evident truths.
‘‘The proof is out there,’’ Mr Andrews said.
‘‘Luckily, we have 1.5
At the forum on Wednesday last week, Mr Andrews didn’t use a digital presentation to aid him with his speech.
He said his solution was simple: we needed to observe, understand and reproduce.
By rebuilding waterways, water flow would slow down and spread nutrient-rich sediment across landscapes, as opposed to pushing water downstream and creating deeper waterways.
Mr Andrews said by doing so, the landscape would control itself without the need for farmers to dig into its reserves.
Mr Andrews, who has been on almost every current affair program including ABC’s Australian Story, was keen for the people in the room to challenge his theories.
The room was full of inquisitive looks and some hesitation and only three people raised their hands — typically when Mr Andrews raised the topic of willow trees.
‘‘Do you have a pond with fish at home?’’ Mr Andrews asked one man.
The man replied, ‘‘yes’’.
‘‘Put some eucalyptus bark in it and see what happens to your fish,’’ Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrew said he wanted to slay ‘‘two sacred cows’’: Australia’s general consensus that salt rose to the surface and that willow trees destroyed ecosystems.
‘‘The government thought I was stupid for a long time. I sometimes still think I’m stupid,’’ he said.
Nonetheless, his theories were recognised in the mid 2000s, 30 years after being first developed on his 809
Why had he persisted after being ignored for so long?
Outside of the forum, he said he had grown up affected by the extreme conditions on his family’s sheep property just outside Broken Hill, NSW.
‘‘There was a dust storm that buried 3000 of our sheep and we only found 600. I remember one sheep had half its head sticking out of the sand with sand seeping into its nostrils,’’ Mr Andrew said.
‘‘This is why I keep going — I don’t want other Australians to see how bad things can get.’’
Football nut and AFL Goulburn Murray league operations manager Simon Devine is looking forward to the challenge of carrying on the proud tradition of the Goulburn Valley Football League.
Police investigating a break and enter at a Mulwala club more than 10 years ago are renewing their appeal for public assistance by releasing an image of a person they believe has information to assist them.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
Former district resident and award-winning television producer Joanna Werner will no doubt be shopping for a glitzy gown ahead of the Emmy Awards in New York on February 20.
Rochester Secondary College school captains Dom Atley and Tim Poole have been accepted to study biomedical science in the first step towards becoming doctors.
Will it be Merrigum or Lancaster?
Fire destroys key public buildings in Seymour
Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Heathcote Hostel residents were treated to a visit from Heathcote’s favourite horse, Sub Zero, as part of Australia Day celebrations.
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.
Darren McLoughlin only started playing croquet seven years ago.
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.
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff has been named captain of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
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.