Hello and starting help, and looking for other WA NSF people

Any questions or comments you have about Natural Sequence Farming processes. These could include general questions or ones about your personal problems.

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gwmbox
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:48 am
Location: Blackwood Valley in the South West of WA
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Hello and starting help, and looking for other WA NSF people

Postby gwmbox » Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:25 pm

First, a quick hello to everyone that frequents the forums at NSF. I am a West Aussie in the lower South West of WA about to move to our first (very) small bit of land 46 acres - I said it was small :D. Not for a need to make money from but more lifestyle.

However even as a lifestyle block we wish to try and revive it somewhat and I was introduced to the Natural Sequence Farming and I have now purchased and now reading both of the books by Peter Andrews.

While I am catching up with my reading of those books, I am interested to know if other West Aussies are embarking on a NSF project and how you went about it - as in where you started from and what you have been doing, plus any success you have had. Also the not to do issues I can be aware of so I don't repeat the same if they were not sucessful.

I think these forums and NSF itself would also greatly benefit if more would share their success stories with photos, documentation, how to's and the like... surely showing the results by many will only help spread the great idea :).

As my signature states I am VERY new to being a small land owner but keen to give this a try as I'd prefer the natural way over any chemical method.

Cheers all
--
- VERY new to farming - have a small farm
- Property Interests - NSF, Evergreen, Dorper Sheep and Horses
- Other Interests - Web Site Design and IT
- Eagleburra - eagleburra.com.au | Dogsites - dogsites.com.au | That Net Site - thatnetsite.com

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Postby Ian James » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:44 pm

Hi and welcome,

We have formed an association which covers the entire Avon Catchment.

If you are not situated in the Avon never mind, you are more than welcome to join us and share ideas.

Right now is the very busy harvest period so response times can be slow but from January onwards a lot of activity is scheduled and hopefully you can be part of it all with us.

Cheers for now, Ian James
President. Avon Catchment NSA.

gwmbox
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:48 am
Location: Blackwood Valley in the South West of WA
Contact:

Postby gwmbox » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:11 am

Thanks for the reply Ian.

We are in the Blackwood Valley region so not close to the Avon area. I'd be interested in trying to setup a Blackwood Valley chapter in the future if there are others that have interest in NSF in the same region.

Either way I will keep a watch on the forums for any activity and if you have a meeting for the Avon region anytime I might make the trip up and have a listen in on the discussions.

Cheers

Greg
--
- VERY new to farming - have a small farm
- Property Interests - NSF, Evergreen, Dorper Sheep and Horses
- Other Interests - Web Site Design and IT
- Eagleburra - eagleburra.com.au | Dogsites - dogsites.com.au | That Net Site - thatnetsite.com

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Postby Ian James » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:04 pm

Greg Hales lives in Brigetown and has talked about forming a Blackwood NSF association.
You might be able to find him by talking to the shire council or looking in the phone book.
Otherwise, Duane probably has his contact details.
Duane is Peters personal assistant and can be found on easily on this site adressing many topics.
Cheers.

gwmbox
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:48 am
Location: Blackwood Valley in the South West of WA
Contact:

Postby gwmbox » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:27 pm

Thanks for the info Ian, I will try and contact Greg Hales in the new year and hopefully arrange a time to meet and discuss NSF and to see if he has implemented anything yet so I can take a look and learn from him.

Having read the books and still reading some of the posts here I have been able to gather some good information that I can now try and apply to my small farm land.

Though the problem for me is where best to start. Being new to this area I am learning about weather patterns etc from the locals, but I am light on funds so the ability to get machinery to dig channels etc is at this stage is not possible (spent it all on home) so I will have to go the mulch way first. Fortunately I have an abundance of barley straw available to us for free from our neighbour so I will look at using that for building some mulch contours.

I have a small creek running through the bottom of the property that has a pond at the base. The creek itself is mostly dry during summer but has lush green grass growing where the creek flows during winter. The end pond is about 40mtrs x 60mtrs in size and then has two drain pipes that then go under the road to the next property.

Trees on my property are well placed but most are a gum variety, with very few disciduos trees and no willows at all. I am in the process of reading up on what trees are best to plant as I want a variety, so if your in WA and can help suggest trees and where I can get them (cheap - i.e. I have limited funds) then please let me know.

I will take a few photos when I get a chance and also make up some contour maps (as best as I can) and post them here soon and hopefully those already in the process of NSF can guide me on how best to get this all started. Attached here however is a Google Map image of the property. The pink line is the boundary fence, the green lines are internal paddock fences and the blue boxes are buildings. Three sides of the property are gravel roads. Livestock on the property is so far only 6 horses, but this will grow to a maximum of 10 (we retrain and rehome Standardbreds) at any one time. We will be getting a few sheep but that will be limited to about 30 as we do not wish to get into farming full time. Anyway here is the rough image for you to take a gander at :)

Image

Any suggestions on how I should start are VERY VERY welcomed :)

Oh and Ian if your having a meeting anytime in the new year please let me know as I would love to attend just to have a listen - knowing of course I am new to owning land as well as NSF itself - Basically look at me as a L plate land owner :)

Thanks

Greg
--
- VERY new to farming - have a small farm
- Property Interests - NSF, Evergreen, Dorper Sheep and Horses
- Other Interests - Web Site Design and IT
- Eagleburra - eagleburra.com.au | Dogsites - dogsites.com.au | That Net Site - thatnetsite.com

gwmbox
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:48 am
Location: Blackwood Valley in the South West of WA
Contact:

Postby gwmbox » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:36 am

Here are a series of pictures from our creek taken a couple of days ago. If you have some ideas on how I can manage it better then please let me know :)

The Pond at the end of the creek - see the pipes these go under the road, however they are half filled with concrete
Image

More of the pond
Image

Pond Entry
Image

This tree fell down about 6 weeks ago - it is as it fell, the creek is underneath to the right
Image

Going up stream and past the fallen tree you can see some of the reeds and green grass that is lying in the creek path
Image

More of the creek path
Image

Another fallen tree over the creek
Image

You can see here how the creek has cut into the land, not a lot yet but it will get worse if I do nothing to stop it
Image

As you can see here the creek still has some water, but it is not flowing (visibly)
Image

Another section that shows that the creek is getting deeper
Image

Some more dryer end views, the water is no longer visible and the ground is fairly dry under foot
Image

We are about half way across the property now and it is now fully dry on top
Image

More dry path of the creek
Image

Quite cut into the ground here
Image

You can see here some logs ect across the creek, actually all along the creek there is a fair bit of debri across it, I have left it all as is for now
Image

This is how it comes into our property from next doors, as you can see they have wire across it - the whole fence line is like this. Upstream from this is a good line of poplar trees that look very healthy. Again this is as it was when I bought the place
Image

So there you have it, an idea of what our creek looks like in early/mid January (noting of course we have had no rain for about 45 days)

If you have any words of wisdom to advise me on what I should do along the creek please reply :)
--
- VERY new to farming - have a small farm
- Property Interests - NSF, Evergreen, Dorper Sheep and Horses
- Other Interests - Web Site Design and IT
- Eagleburra - eagleburra.com.au | Dogsites - dogsites.com.au | That Net Site - thatnetsite.com

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Hello and starting help, and looking for other WA NSF pe

Postby Ian James » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:06 am

Hi Greg, thanks for posting all the great photos of your property.

Firstly, Sorry for not replying to your questions, somehow this post slipped under my radar, I just noticed it.

Secondly, yes I have heaps of things I would like to tell you about how you can improve the hydrology and health of your block, just masses of information and I am learning every day still so what I will tell you now is far more developed than what I would have been able to suggest back in January this year.

Please tell us what has happened over the last year on your block and what if any steps you have taken.

Of course you would have had very little rain like the rest of us but that is no sign that there is not work to do.
All that means is the next big rain is likely to be bigger and do more damage because there will be less residues on the ground to control the erosion and flow.
So really we should be looking at ways to protect the creek lines now while it is dry enough to get access to damp soft areas and while we have time to plan things properly. As you know once the water starts to flow things can go downhill fast, excuse the pun.

Please make a post and bring me up to speed, I would love to make a trip down to your property after harvest is finished, if you want to get a few neighbours together I can address a group that would make my trip more worthwhile.
Cheers Ian

duane
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Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:44 pm
Location: Central Coast, NSW
Contact:

Re: Hello and starting help, and looking for other WA NSF pe

Postby duane » Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:32 pm

G'day Greg

Sorry for my recent absence from this forum...appreciate the contribution that everyone has made in my absence.

Where to start????

Always a difficult decision.

Let me ask where do you want to finish??

This makes it easier to plot a course then from start to finish (although often the finish line is rather ephermeral.)

gwmbox
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:48 am
Location: Blackwood Valley in the South West of WA
Contact:

Re: Hello and starting help, and looking for other WA NSF pe

Postby gwmbox » Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:08 pm

Thanks guys for getting back to me and your comments. As you may have noticed I too had abandoned these forums. I had really simply given NSF the flick due to mainly attitudes that were evident by Forum Administrators and hence have not been here for quite a while. I have not had any real desire to return to NSF due to the above, however if help that is useful is available and if the Administrators of the forums have decided to be more open, happy to discuss cross farming ideas as a mix of principles to get best results and they have come around to the idea that the forums are for help and advice then I will be happy to return to NSF and help out and of course ask for help. If not, and I guess if this post gets deleted due to my comments then I will stay away.

Anyway back to my questions that I initially posted and an update as requested.

I have not done anything as yet to the property due to being busy with so much else, also I have not had the equipment to do anything due to lack of funds. I know have a tractor (old Int 684) with FEL which will help out for me to do what I want. I sort of know what I want to do initially but more help is always great.

My plan at this stage is to look at the creek running through and fill in the large crevices that have been created by the running water and at the same time widen an area where the water can flow into so it becomes a series of larger pools along the path of the creek to the large dam at the end. Where the dam is now you can see the two pipes, odd place to put those by the previous owner so I am getting two more pipes and will place them at the top with a concrete cover for protection and to act as a floodway if the dam overflows of which it did that in March this year. I will then seal the existing two pipes, this is so the dam can rise and of course be at a higher level. This added water I am planning to use to pull up to the top of the property and to disperse with a sort of drop feed system from the top of the property.

I have not done any culverts yet as I was not really sure where was the best place to start, plus we have horses and do not want to make them too big as to cause possible injury to the horses, I may choose to do four of five quite small ones to catch and then leech water down to each paddock.

I have planted 20 new deciduous trees on the property along the top and sides, this is for both shade for animals and also for NSF reasons. I have also planted 8 Willows near the dam which have already flourished, though I think I might have to move them nest year when they lose their leaves as I have them too close together and to close to the water with the dam level expected to rise due to the new pipe system I will put in.... will see how this goes.

So where do I want to get too, well I want as said to
1. widen and create a series of larger pools for the creek,
2. raise the dam level,
3. move water from the dam to the top paddock and
4. build in a series of culverts to catch any water etc as it moves down from the top paddock to the bottom one.
5. We also have dry dam in back paddock which I am going to dig out, plug and use better for water for the back paddock.

Of course if you with your knowledge think this is the wrong way to go then please let me know.

The idea is the top paddock will remain for main usage being horses/sheep, the second will be used for both a small evergreen pasture crop and sheep use and the back paddock will be used for a small oats/hay crop. Note it is only 43 acres and my 'cropping' is mainly just to grow feed for our horses and sheep basically, that is pretty much it. If I had the money I'd buy another 43 acres next to ours off the neighbour to add size to our land, but that is not going to happen unless I win lotto :)

Cheers guys

Greg
--
- VERY new to farming - have a small farm
- Property Interests - NSF, Evergreen, Dorper Sheep and Horses
- Other Interests - Web Site Design and IT
- Eagleburra - eagleburra.com.au | Dogsites - dogsites.com.au | That Net Site - thatnetsite.com

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Hello and starting help, and looking for other WA NSF pe

Postby Ian James » Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:36 pm

Hi Greg,
Gee, I'm sorry to hear you were so unimpressed with some attitudes which you witnessed on the forum, but I am really glad you are back giving us a second chance. Hopefully whatever it was that disappointed you so much has changed or disappeared.

I have come across all sorts of things on the site but I have to say I always get the feeling that everyone is trying their best to make sense of the complex and difficult challenge of understanding our landscape better and deciding the best and most healthy way to assist our land to repair itself.

You get all sorts and I think really that reflects a very healthy discussion and I am glad for anyone to give their two bobs worth because at least they are engaging and thinking and are not shrinking away in denial which is a massive problem among the population.

I like the things you are thinking and it is good that you are thinking about the creek line as that is the area that probably is most at risk of further degradation.
The process to follow goes something like this

    Stabilise, stop things getting worse
    Protect, You must work to ensure that the stabilisation you have carried out is not destroyed in the next big rain event.
    Repair/ Restore, As Peter says, you really only need to get off natures back and give it a chance and it will quickly begin to repair damage
    Preserve, Once restoration has begun steps need to be taken to preserve what you have created by modifying land use and management practices to ensure things don’t just head back to where you came from
    Enjoy, make sure you have a good time doing it all! Get into the swing of it

I'm not going to pretend I can tell you what to do on your block without having seen it mate, but a few pointers are,
    Don't overstock, big mistake to let your land get anything like overgrazed, the damage can be severe and last years
    Start at the top, manage water from the top of the property and work towards the bottom. This way as you change things you can take those changes into consideration when you start your next tier of work. For example, imagine you do a lot of work on the overflow on the pond at the bottom of the farm but later work on the top side and you are so successful that your pond never overflows again.
    Don't waste time filling in crevices, it will only wash out again, all you probably need to do is stabilise the soil with vegetation, grasses and shrubs and even wood debris. Let nature get a hold of it and it will gradually level itself out with natural silt and mulch and will be far healthier

My thoughts on moving water from the dam to the top of the property, without seeing the site are that if you manage your hydrology correctly it should be possible to negate the need for moving water from the bottom to the top. The idea is to remember that your water has already been at the top, it just didn't stay there long enough. If you can keep your water in the landscape at the top of the property by dispersing it away from the drainage lines and hold it in the landscape using plants and soil biology and taking advantage of the much misunderstood and ignored daily water cycle then you will have plenty of water at the top of the property and all through the property and will have no need to buy expensive machinery to pump water back up there from the bottom.

Hope this gives you some help Greg, I'd love to come and have a look at your place as soon as harvest is over.

Ian

gwmbox
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:48 am
Location: Blackwood Valley in the South West of WA
Contact:

Re: Hello and starting help, and looking for other WA NSF pe

Postby gwmbox » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:47 pm

Thanks for the comments Ian and I do wish to be of help here and of course learn from others. Nothing to do with second chance, more a case of as long as the forums can remain open to all ideas based around NSF and similar farming practices (e.g. Evergreen) to enable us to all better manage our land big or small to the betterment of the community and the planet as a whole.

Anyway enough of that :)

My reason for looking to move water from bottom to top is that during rainy days I would have a look at where much of the water was coming from, my results of this worked out that about 40% of it comes from my own property while another 650% would come from upstream. It is this 60% that I want to make more use of.

If by building contours on my land helps to capture my own runoff rain, by moving some of the water from the dam/pond to the top paddock (the 60%) I am hoping to increase the water made available to the land. As far as I can tell, with exception to the big one day rain we had that caused the overflow the rest will simply sit and during the dry time evaporate, so I am simply trying to work out a way to use some of it before it evaporates away. I may as you say find that once the contours are in and it is working well, that I stop moving the water from bottom up... I guess that will then mean that the NSF/Evergreen principles I implement are working :)

I know overstocking is a big issue, being new to property ownership we had our neighbours sheep on our property for a period between November and December 2009, unfortunately we found out too late it was massively overstocked and over grazed that the soil was absolutely killed off. So this year we have done nothing, weeds have grown and died off (mostly), grass has grown and been eaten with quite a bit still there on two of our paddocks, the soil is still very dry but digging deeper now you can see the soil has some good qualities. We will repeat this again for the next 12 months and let nature do its thing, but will add a soil wetter before the rain comes next year to help the rain penetrate the soil further. The only thing I really want to do between now and then is put the contours in and as said work a little around the existing creek to widen the path of the water flow. Plus the new pipes for the pond at the end.

I will also obtain Evergreen pasture seeds for the seeding season next year and plant at least two paddocks with the pasture mix. The back paddock will need to be turned/ploughed before seeding as it is very barren with a very hard surface with little growing out of it and I doubt much more would grow on it as it is now.

Would love to have you drop around, I'll call you later in the month as we get past this busy time of the year and see if we can arrange a time for me to first visit your farm and see what you have done and then get you over to see mine and you can pass on any ideas you think will best work.

Cheers

Greg
--
- VERY new to farming - have a small farm
- Property Interests - NSF, Evergreen, Dorper Sheep and Horses
- Other Interests - Web Site Design and IT
- Eagleburra - eagleburra.com.au | Dogsites - dogsites.com.au | That Net Site - thatnetsite.com


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