We have been practising Alan Savoury’s Holistic management approach to farming for the last seventeen years. This method follows the philosophy of identifying the environmental, social and financial impacts involved in the maintaining of a sustainable, healthy property.
Holistic management practises focus upon the regeneration of the land through building upon healthy soils unlike traditional industrial agriculture. Healthy soils lead to nutritious pastures which then results in healthy animals. Using a HM trained educator from South Africa, Dick Richardson (http://www.grazingnaturally.com.au) has been advising us here at South Bukalong on the very simple idea of Holistic Management which is actually one of the hardest things to implement
This is done through grazing practises, introducing and building upon micro-organisms within the soils, breaking down of animal manure for natural fertilisation along with oxygenating the soil through animal impact. Through holistic management practises our animals actually support and work towards our goal of long term sustainability.
We have been monitoring the sequestered carbon levels in our soils over the years and have seen some amazing results due our managing practises. We have managed to store up to 100 tonnes of carbon per hectare so far and counting.
What is CARBON? Carbon is a component of the soils organic matter that can be stored. The more organic matter you have the healthier the soil meaning larger quantities of carbon being stored within the soils.
This storing (sequestering) of carbon within the soils helps towards reducing the amount of carbon present within the earth’s atmosphere, and helps towards reducing global warming. Higher levels of sequestered carbon found in the soils indicate healthier pastures, this helps us to ensure that our animals have access to a selection of fresh diverse, wholesome pastures at all times. Dr Christine Jones has so much more data on Grassland carbon sequesting, it is her life’s work, read her articles at http://www.amazingcarbon.com/
Healthy riparian zones and drinking water is also a fundamental element of our management systems our belief is “if you won’t drink the water then why should the animals?” Our animals are treated to fresh, free flowing, energised water that feeds into 400 litre transportable troughs.
As our animals have access fresh drinking water from the troughs our dams tend to become the social hub in summer as they enjoy wallowing and wading in the cool waters.
We have worked hand in hand with Landcare over the last seventeen years to re-establish and improve our riparian zone areas, working towards eliminating erosion through tree planting and slowing down our rain overflow to help with and establish healthy waterways and our river systems.
Just like human’s animals from time to time require vitamin and mineral supplements, all our supplements are natural, animal and environmentally friendly.
These are introduced to the animals in the form of:
- TNN mineral plus added to the trough water at the beginning of each new stock move.
- AIMS (Animal Innovation Management) loose lick Graz-max to help support animals during our harsh Monaro winters. http://www.animalinnovations.com.au/assets/oz-gmax-edge-lkcs.pdf
Low Stress Stock Handling (LSS)
All of our animals are treated to Low Stress Stock handling management practises ensuring that our animals are as the name states, stress free. This then contributes to the overall wellbeing of the animal and quality and grade of the meat. http://www.lss.net.au/
LSS focuses on the four basic animal instincts that help the stock handler to better understand the animal’s wants, needs and subsequent behaviours. Each stock worker learns the seven principles that act as a guide to help how they then interact with the animals. We work with the animal’s natural instincts rather than working against nature. This then helps to produce low stress outcomes for both the animal and the stockman.