PLANNING FOR DROUGHT AND PROFIT IN THE MONARO
With 100% of New South Wales still in drought, how does the Monaro’s Charlie Maslin still have full ground cover, flowing streams and no need to back up the feed truck?
In the latest Soils For Life video interview at Charlie Maslin YouTube, Charlie Maslin explains how his property, “Gunningrah” is making a profit and why he and his wife Anne have more time on their hands.
Charlie explains that his rainfall figures are 35% less than normal for the past 8 months.
“In the last 12 months we’ve gone through quite a dry period. Conventionally, farmers back the feed trucks in and agist stock and try and maintain their factory going at full production. But as the dry seasons have come in we’ve backed off our numbers quite considerably down just over 30%”, Charlie says.
“We’re trying to keep the changes that have happened since changing the grazing method intact. So as the ground covers come up, if we’d kept our numbers high, we’d be losing all the ground cover advantages we’ve gained. 20 years ago, our ground cover levels came up from the mid-60% level up to about 90%”.
“We started planning for this when it got dry in early autumn. We’ve tried to lift the condition of all the ewes and cows and hopefully that will carry them through the winter”.
“The main focus really has been to lift ground cover, improve the water cycle of the country so that if we get steady rain there’s very little run off. In a dry climate like this and a dry time right across the state we need to be holding as much of that moisture as we can for the plants to grow and the animals to eat, and then for us to make a profit”.
“We put the cattle into bigger mobs of about 300 cattle and the sheep go into mobs of 1 and a half thousand to about 2,000, and we move those around so that each group moving about will have 10,12 or 15 paddocks in that cycle”, Charlie says.
“I’ve kept detailed records of how we’ve allocated time, and since we’ve been doing rotational grazing, our time doing stock work is down about 40%. It used to take just over 300 days a year to do all the stock work - now we do it in about 180”.
“Since we’ve changed our grazing management we’ve had time to plant trees, we’ve had time to do quite a bit of new fencing work and put reticulation schemes in, so I think it’s given us a lot more time to do other developments”.
See Charlie Maslin’s interview at: Charlie Maslin YouTube
Soils for Life programs demonstrate proven solutions in regenerative landscape management to increase the natural capital value of the Australian landscape – rural, regional and urban.
For more information, contact: Niree Creed, Media, Soils for Life:0418625595