HEYTESBURY DISTRICT LANDCARE NETWORK
Regenerative Farming Initiatives
for drought resistance
Following previous grant funded initiatives trialing different regenerative farming methods, Heytesbury District Landcare Network secured additional funding from the Australian Future Drought Fund. The new funds enable HDLN to continue existing trials through to August 2022 (a six month extension) as well as working with these and new farming partners on implementing a range of drought resilience measures across larger parts of their farm operations. We have expanded the number of participants to 30 farms in total.
Each farm is supported in two initiatives, including from the following main categories:
Increasing plant matter yield and soil carbon
plus reduced fertiliser use.
- low tillage with ground cover (selection of optimal tillage system)
- sowing multi-species cover crops (selection of optimal seeding system)
- spreading compost
- spreading compost + 10% biochar
- spreading compost with biochar added during decomposition
- use of inoculated seed
- subdividing paddocks for more frequent rotation (e.g. beef properties)
- extending pasture rest periods through herd movement (e.g. dairy properties)
- using rest periods to create feed wedges and conserve feed (all livestock)
- riparian buffers
- fenceline and paddock windbreaks
Initiatives that achieve water conservation or efficiency and/or improved water quality
Some landholders have selected other initiatives that HDLN was open to supporting, such as
• methane suppressing fodder supplements for ruminants (also improving feed conversion) including any of the following:
- biochar in grain supplements
- seaweed mix in grain supplements
- biochar in open bin paddock feeding
- seaweed mix in open bin paddock feeding
• reducing emissions from livestock excrement (increasing nutrient retention or producing biogas) including any of the following:
- introducing composting (for farms not already doing this)
- enhanced composting eg with biochar or fermentation
- capturing and using or flaring biogas (design of model for implementation)
- improving year-round activity of dung beetles
- reed cultivation on effluent ponds.
Climate Resilient Farmers
Project Time Frames
Starting in Spring 2021
Landholders expressed interest and went through a selection process.
Farm plans have been prepared.
2021-22 We are writing a cover crop series which will form part of a handbook for farmers. At present this series is on our homepage.
Thoughout 2022 - A series of monthly field days are planned focusing on the above topics, Covid allowing.
Winter/Spring 2022 - Learnings will be distributed. Keep an eye on our Facebook page, or subscribe to our email newsletter.
The project team includes
Tony Evans (Camperdown Compost founder)
Jade Killoran Healthy Farming Systems,
Dr Jane Stanley
Dr Tim Tutt
Helen Phillips of Triple R Biochar.