Farmers across the WA Wheatbelt cropping region know too well that climate change is already hitting them hard and is no longer a problem just for future generations.
As such they are seeking alternative farming techniques to help drought proof their farming operations.
These forward-thinking farmers were out in force recently, with more than 60 land owners, industry people, government representatives, and interested individuals from the community attending a field day at Grant Bain’s property near Walkaway to listen to Dr Maarten Stapper talk on regenerative farming techniques.
The event was orchestrated by local Dandaragan farmers Christine and Kingsley Smith with help from Soil Restoration Farming and support from NACC. It attracted visitors from across the region and the Yarra Yarra Catchment Regional Group even organised a bus to get their farmers to Walkaway for the day.
Participants were treated to a field day and visited paddocks which have successfully been transformed from problem areas to perennial pastures and wind break alley systems. Discussions were held around diversification, grazing management, soil health, and the role of deep rooted perennial pastures in improving the health of the soil and increasing the profitability for the farm.
The visit was followed by a very interactive workshop where Dr Stapper talked about the science of regenerative farming and the function of healthy soils to grow healthy plants that are resistant to drought, diseases and insects.
Dr Stapper said the current practices used harsh synthetics and ignored the delicate balance of microbes, humus, trace minerals and nutrients in soil.
“These practices expose plant roots to harsh conditions, making them more sensitive to acid conditions, and the whole plant more susceptible to environmental conditions such as drought, heat and frost,” he said.
“Transitioning to regenerative farming reduces the use of synthetic fertilisers and chemicals. It takes the best practices and materials from industrial and organic agriculture to enable farmers to make a profitable, gradual transition towards regenerative systems. Healthy soils are created step by step using biological inputs, thus minimising synthetic inputs that work against biology and balance.”
NACC’s Regional Landcare Facilitator project funded the event and facilitator Stanley Yokwe said he was encouraged by the efforts of local farmers who did not only initiate the event, but also helped in organising it.
On behalf of NACC, Stanley would like to thank all local farmers who helped in making this day a success – Christine and Kingsley Smith, Lyn Glasfurd, Gavin and Katie Haywood and Grant Bain. He also would like to thank Soil Restoration Farming and Dr Maarten Stapper for his remarkable efforts to share his wealth of experience with our farmers.
This event is being organised by the Soil Restoration Farming with support from NACC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme as part of the Regional Landcare Project.