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Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:30 pm
by brettmtl
That is great news Ian and as always, thanks for your unbridled update.

Just don't fully chew off Peter's

ps. Does Peter ever get to Victoria

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:47 am
by duane
Peter was in the Mid Goulburn and North East of Victoria last November for 3 days.

Keep an eye on the site under field days to follow Peter's whereabouts at field days.

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:06 pm
by Ian James
Tomorrow my trial will feature in an article of "The Farm Weekly"

Today I had a visit from Greg Hedley.

He is from TD of Rivers and Water. We showed him our entire creek length and he took a lot of photos.

We showed him where we would like to construct new fencing to take advantage of existing fences with the object of fencing a stock free corridor along the entire length of the creek.

He is going to help me obtain funding assistance for the job.

He was very excited by what he saw at the trial site as we have come to expect from our visitors.

He did show some hesitation when the topic of Willow trees was raised.

I did take the opportunity to quiz him on his objections to the willow.

He told us that the willow uses a lot more water compared to other tree species, also that they have abundant root mass which clogs and blocks waterways.

He also mentioned that they spread rapidly and uncontrolled along a watercourse.

Apart from these beneficial traits I think the main objection to the willow that he outlined is that they are not a species native to Australia.

He noted that we could consider native species that have the ability to do the work that we hope the willow will do.

On that note I agree whole heartedly.

The task is to find a native tree that will block and clog my creek thereby trapping sediment and reverse past erosion and channeling.

At the same time it must use huge quantities of water which will assist in stabilizing the rise and fall of the water table.

It must be tolerant to elevated salinity levels and be able to propagate itself rapidly saving me a whole lot of work planting them.

Of course it must not be toxic and there must be an available supply to get a population established soon.

Unless we can come up with a substitute very soon I get the feeling that the willow may just have to do.

Anyone got a candidate?

wattle it be?

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:56 pm
by brettmtl
Hi Ian,

Well done, you have got a lot of things happening.

Have you considered an Acacia. Some of these are short lived, around 7 years and fix nitrogen into the soil. In Victoria, Black wattle, Acacia mearnsii, is well known as a pioneering species. I am sure you would have something similar.

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:53 pm
by duane

Speak to Peter when you see him.

You need a PIONEERING species...maybe Greg could suggest some native pioneers ie.,who are primary colonisers.

The secondary colonisers are the N fixers ie the native she oaks.

Then come the other spp.

Willows do all the things you want and the research which says they use too much water is a COMPLETE furphy.

If you find a Primary coloniser which is a native to your area LET THE WORLD NOW ABOUT IT.....I dont there is one left after the universal clearing of our forest for agriculture and 200 years of letting cattle and sheep in to eat our riparian zones.


Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:43 pm
by Angela Helleren
I must confess, I'm a dummy when it comes to such matters but I did a quick google search on primary colonizer grasses and there was a study on the rehabilitation of Western Australian Bauxite Mines. I thought you may find something of interest. ... .tb00466.x

Ian it's wonderful to hear your updates.

Cheers Angie

Things are happening!

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:26 pm
by Ian James
Finaly I am writing again.

Things are happening.

Today I was contacted by ABC radio for an interview about my trial site.

My wife Jodi sat in the car outside the house and listened on the radio.

Tomorrow we are holding a field day at the site with Peter Andrews attending.

Right now I should be outside preparing.

I'd better get back to it.

Things are happening!

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:41 am
by Angela Helleren
Hope the day goes well for you all! :lol:

The Big Day.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:50 am
by Ian James
Last Friday the 4th of April we did hold our launch of the Avon Catchment NSA.

In the week leading up to the event we had 2 rain events.

The first a real deluge following destructive easterly winds which picked up the red topsoil from the drought effected farms of the Avon Catchment and bought it over us in such quantity that it was impossible to see more than two car lengths into the distant.

The damage done to the land by the winds was immense.

These farms make up the massive majority of the Avon Catchment.
Worse easily than the 3 or 4 most destructive wind events of the last 30 years.

The destruction of this wind, caused by the remnants if cyclone Pancho, in areas matched that of cyclone Alby which eroded and destroyed huge areas of the states fragile topsoil left bare by the drought which preceded it.

Thank goodness farming practices have changed so much since that time, when it was normal practice to fallow the land to be sown the following year by turning it over, leaving it exposed and easy meat for any hungry wind to thieve.

More importantly though, thank goodness we farmers have learnt the benefit of not burning the residue of the previous crop in preparation for the next.

In fact the farmers of the past really had no other option if they wanted to sow a crop into land which had been cropped the year before. They had no access to chemicals which easily kill non crop plants.

It was necessary to burn all the stubble at the end of the hot dry summer but before the first rains which would dampen the soil and hinder the burn. This burn left the land bare and naked.

It was necessary because to kill these plants without the aid of chemical it was required to disturb the roots of the seedlings during the seeding process using a tight configuration of tillage points in a group. Any stubble residue from the last crop would quickly block up this machine and make the seeding operation impossible.

It is easily missed by those not involved in the work required to produce the food essential for a world of consumers who see chemicals as an evil to be targeted and who are aware of the degradation of their land only by images flashed on their screens while they chew their cereals.

It is easy for the multitude to miss the fact which flew at my face in the form of mud falling from a sky so full of the nutrients of the earth that it was as black as an inky midnight under that swirling storm.

Thank goodness for the chemicals which saved my land. Which allow me to leave my stubble standing to protect it's very embryo.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:56 am
by duane
In the east these natural events are not reported on in micro, as you have done, so it was interesting to read your report of the effects of the recent bad weather.

Garry Page of "Pingelly" which I believe is not far from you Ian, farms 4000 acres.

He was typical of most chemical farmers till salt scalding and other problems were going to force him out of business unless he changed what he was doing.

One of the first things he did was to stop putting chemicals onto his place.

According to Garry the change around was salinity problems, permanent groud cover, more OM, higher soil moisture, higher yields etc etc.

Peter visited his place on the thursday before coming to Sunnymeade on friday. He said the contrast was amazing.

If you and the ACNSA Chapter would like to visit Garry's property as your first official excursion/trip/ I could organise it with Garry or alternatively if you contact me I can give you his details and maybe you, Jodi and the children could take a run down to have a look.

Ian, there is always a better way to do things, when its available, just as you said in your post.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:58 am
by Ian James
Thanks Duane, we would jump at the chance!

That is an excellent suggestion.

We would all be very interested to see Gary's farm and an official excursion would be an excellent tool to focus our attention.

If Gary is able to host us I will begin to organise an event imediately.

This idea that we should farm without chemicals really scares me.

The trouble is I know that it is true. We must.

I also know that it is possible, some how.

There will be a way. We just have to find it.

Peter may know the way.

I want to know too.

Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:30 pm
by wongankatta
Organic No-Till - will it work in Australia? - I'm hoping to find out.
I will post more if I ever get my internet connected :x
The following link from the US shows some of the methods I'm going to try.

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:19 pm
by duane
G'day Ian

I was hoping that we in nsf blogland could awaken you out of your 'blogging slumber'.

We have sorely missed your presence here.

I hope you re-engage with us SOON and give us your the pleasure of your literary soliloques.

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:05 pm
by Adrian
Hello Ian,
I have just finished reading your blog, all there is to say mate is, I hope you havn't sold up and gone working for your local paper. You must have a character loved by many, going on your writting skills.
I was so into reading your blog that it sadden me that all of a suddern you stopped. You gave me a picture of how you started out and then step by step as if i was there with you looking at your project.
I just hope that the subject of chemicals hasn't scared you to stop blogging and showing us all what you are achiving today.
All the best for the new year, and please please please start blogging again.

Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:19 pm
by duane
Peter Andrews will be at the WA Northam, Earth Solutions Expo on the 29th March. Everyone is welcome.