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KUMBARTCHO

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Enabling landscape rehydration and regeneration

Transforming drains into chains of ponds on Kumbartcho. As I write Shan is “across the ditch” in NZ visiting an ex-WWOOFer who is working on an Angus stud cattle operation in the south island. I’m home absolutely enjoying “farm” life. My participation in the Community gardens in Kilkivan continues, as do new projects on Kumbartcho. Rehydration We have begun our Peter Andrews/Natural Sequence Farming-style landscape rehydration project. Stuart Andrews kindly took a day out of his family seaside holiday to come ‘consulting’ for us. Thanks so much Stuart! Now we have followed the plan (mostly), with some added personal flair. It may be best to do the work at end of the wet season, but our ....

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Managing soil, water and photosynthesis

Kumbartcho pasture into its second year of drought. Top of our list when we went ‘shopping’ for a new farm, was water. In times of drought it becomes really apparent that water is the single most limiting factor in our agricultural enterprises/gardens. Here we have a flowing creek, with water allocation, and a bore which is adequate for irrigation purposes (un-regulated). Now it is well and good to have all this water, however the cost of pumping it has largely become prohibitive for many agricultural enterprises. How then are we addressing this issue of water?? Our pasture and soil management is focused on having soils in best possible condition and pastures are managed for perenniality ....

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Reflections on drought and community

  Well here we are at end August 2014, tomorrow is first day of spring. August has delivered us 52 mm of rain, which gives us great soil moisture to begin spring.   Shan Joyce spraying Biodynamic soil activator The farm has had three sprays of Biodynamic soil activator, so is well ‘primed’ to burst into life/growth as the weather warms. Now is a good time to re-assess what are the ‘weak links’ of this farm.     Having attended to the farm’s acute need for rest (destocked 13/01/2014 till 16/06/2014), and to the farm’s need to achieve a biologically active soil (three applications of Biodynamic preparations).  The outstanding ‘weak link’ was stock water infrastructure. Stock ....

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Re-assessing farm weak links

  Well here we are at end August 2014, tomorrow is first day of spring. August has delivered us 52 mm of rain, which gives us great soil moisture to begin spring.   Shan Joyce spraying Biodynamic soil activator The farm has had three sprays of Biodynamic soil activator, so is well ‘primed’ to burst into life/growth as the weather warms. Now is a good time to re-assess what are the ‘weak links’ of this farm.     Having attended to the farm’s acute need for rest (destocked 13/01/2014 till 16/06/2014), and to the farm’s need to achieve a biologically active soil (three applications of Biodynamic preparations).  The outstanding ‘weak link’ was stock water infrastructure. Stock ....

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Monitoring farm actions and results

Image courtesy of The Australian Women's Weekly The Importance of Monitoring I cannot stress enough the value of monitoring as a tool to be used in all facets of farming. Here at Kumbartcho we started our monitoring program right from the beginning. On our former property Dukes Plain we did not start the monitoring till 1995, some 12 years after we took up the management. Vegetation growth on Dukes Plain There, within 6 months of beginning, we had saved our selves in the order of $40 per hectare, which we would have spent on re-clearing timber regrowth. Yes, within 6 months we were able to demonstrate from our grazing chart records that our timbered country ....

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Building farm and community

Image courtesy of The Australian Women's Weekly This update on starting our new farm at Kumbartcho, Kilkivan will be focused on our community involvement. A large part of our community involvement goes back now some eight years. When at Dukes Plain, Theodore, we started a “partnership” with Samford Valley Steiner School (SVSS). They have been bringing their Year Nine class out to Dukes Plain for “farm camp” each year during winter. Initially the camp was for one week, however more recently it has grown to three weeks. The history of our association goes back to my spotting an advertisement in the Biodynamic Agriculture Australia News Leaf. SVSS were seeking a farm in south ....

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Restocking after restoring a degraded landscape

Image courtesy of The Australian Women's Weekly Well here we are at Kumbartcho, and we have hit “P” mode, where P is for production. We have had the property in ‘lock up’ mode since the 13th of January this year. Yes, no stock till pastures had fully recovered from previous (over) grazing, and under resting. Rain throughout this resting period has been: 4.5mm in January 42mm in February 158.5mm in March 17mm in April 37.5mm in May ....

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Recharge: taking a break from the farm

Image courtesy of The Australian Women's Weekly Well folks this chapter in the story may seem to be quite ‘unconnected’ to our new farm, however in my view it is ‘connected’ very much. On the 13th of May, I set out on a journey to Adelaide, SA to ride (bicycle) with a friend (Michael) from Angaston (Barossa Valley) to Blinman (just north of Wilpeena Pound) in the Flinders Ranges. We were then to return to Port Augusta, and catch a bus back to Adelaide, flying home on May 23rd. Why this ‘journey’ is so closely connected to our farming operation, is primarily due to the need for us all to ‘take a break’ ....