Farmers building a regenerative agriculture network in central Queensland
Posted on June 4th, 2019
REDUCING chemical inputs is possible in productive and profitable agriculture, just ask the 24 landholders in CQ who are opening up considerable margins in their businesses, thanks to regenerative agriculture.
The group of landholders, with support from Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA), form a peer-to-peer network, guided by one of the country’s leading regenerative agriculture experts, Kym Kruse from RegenAG.
The mentor program was conceived off the back of two 2018 RegenAG Biofertiliser workshops delivered by Kym, with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. The enthusiastic response to the workshop and the underlying principles of regenerative agriculture indicated a high demand locally for this natural way of farming.
As a result, Kym said
“we didn’t want to just run a course,”.
“What we want to see is the uptake and the implementation of the information as practice. We want farmers using these practices successfully.”
In a pledge to improve the conversion rate of attendees to practices on property, the peer-to-peer group, funded by the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality program, was launched with a selection of the original landholders who had attended the 2018 workshop.
Vicki Horstman, FBA’s Regional Landcare Agricultural Facilitator says this innovative learning model has created a network of like-minded, passionate and inspired landholders.
“In the agricultural industry, it’s essential that people learn from each other,” she said.
“This group is constantly learning from the trials and errors of the others in the group. Hearing about what is working well for others helps everyone save money and time.
What I love about this group is the knowledge transfer that is naturally occurring. What happens behind the farm gate doesn’t need to be a secret.”
The passionate group of landholders farm a diverse range of produce from across the region, and are actively bouncing off ideas with one another, with regular online meetings and face-to-face field days.
The brief given to participants was simple – 12 months to implement a trial site on your property, with regular support and guidance from Kym Kruse. For anyone with an interest in regenerative agriculture, the opportunity to be mentored by Kym was too good to miss.
In fact, some landholder’s trial sites have been so successful, they’ve already expanded their trials to the rest of their properties. In early May, the group gathered at the Glenlivet property of Judy and Scott Smith in Thangool.
“We really knew nothing about the soil. I grew up raising cattle and the soil was nothing to be looked at. We grew grass when it rained and fed cattle when it didn’t rain,” Judy said.
“Now, with all the education we have, it’s changed our lives and our property. You have to look at where your assets are. Our asset is our soil, everyone should be looking at their soil first.”
The results are beginning to speak for themselves. This image (lower right) comes from a property involved in the program.
The wheat on the right has been treated with a range of on-farm manufactured inputs that RegenAG have coached Ballentine Farming in making and advised on the application as part of a transitional program.
Making small changes that fit in with the existing program and equipment, that are cost-effective and mitigate risk are a great way for farmers to trial the efficacy of our holistic approach for their farming business. As a result, increased yields, increased profits and improved soil health are beginning to take hold.
This program is supported by Fitzroy Basin Association Inc and the Enhanced Extension Coordination program, which is funded by the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality program.
For more information on regenerative agriculture, upcoming workshops, FBA’s farm services program or to access our catalogue of resources, visit www.fba.org.au, call (07) 4999 2800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org