Bingara to host ‘Minimum Till’ benefits and results field day

October 8, 2010

The Upper Gwydir Landcare Assn (UGLA) in conjunction with the Border Rivers Catchment Management Authority has recently acquired the services of Mr. Bruce Maynard for their up and coming ‘Minimum Till’ Benefits and Results field day.

Bruce Maynard from Narromine, N.S.W. is a fourth generation farmer and, with wife Roz, son Liam and parents Raby and Audrey, operates a beef cattle business.

The Maynard family have been in the forefront of regenerative land management practices over the past decade having changed from a conventional mixed farming background.

During that time, Bruce was responsible for the development of an Australian approach to cropping called Advance Sowing.

Incorporating time control grazing, whole farm planning, holistic resource management, avenue farming, advance sowing and low stress stock handling they have been able to develop a totally integrated farming operation.  Natural resource protection is the primary aim of the family.

Bruce invented the revolutionary ‘No Kill Cropping’ system in 1996 that grows crop within grasslands rather than replacing grasslands as conventional systems do.  This environmentally kind cropping method slashed input costs and allows great flexibility for producers.

Why do No Kill Cropping? No Kill offers the opportunity to produce crops in a manner that doesn’t damage the grasslands.  Rather it enhances grassland function and is one of the few effective means of regenerating grasslands over large areas. No Kill grows crops on areas that would be far too risky to disturb by conventional methods.

Arid or sloping areas are not suitable for other methods as disruption to the soil surface by any sort of tillage or chemical application would leave the site prone to soil erosion by water or wind.  No Kill is an ethical, sustainable and revolutionary approach to gain production. It is a modern approach to the dilemmas posed by the cropping practices that have produced the deserts in the footsteps of mankind for millennia.

How does it work?
No Kill sows directly into the pasture or grassland with zero disturbance, no fallow period and using livestock as nutrient recyclers.
There are 5 Principles:
• Sowing is done dry
• Coulter type implements are used (no tines)
• No Herbicide or Pesticides
• No Fertiliser
• Good grazing management

Sowing is done dry to give the crop the advantage over germinating annual weeds. It also keeps compaction effects to a minimum by travelling over the ground at its highest strength and that leads to dramatically lower fuel usage.

Coulter type implements are used in order to cut through the existing plants and residue while disturbing as little as possible. The two main consequences of this are very low draft in dry soil and the ability to retain large amounts of residues on top of the soil.

No Herbicides or Pesticides are used so that no organisms are taken out of the system- either plant or animal.  This leads to the maximum amount of biological activity throughout the year which then feeds the organisms that create topsoil.

No Fertiliser is used for economic and ecological reasons. By not expending costs up front with fertiliser application risk is low and return on capital high while ecologically no simplification of the grassland occurs.

Good grazing management is critical to the long term with this method as it allows for the conditions that promote desirable plants while inhibiting the germination and growth of weeds.

This is the third ‘Min Till’ field day for the Bingara district in this highly successful series. The field days so far have attracted high profile speakers, practical demonstrations of new and innovative designs in modification of equipment, and different planting techniques.

The two previous field days attracted in excess of 140 participants from throughout the Catchment and of note, the first field day was used to release $1.5m in funding by the BRG CMA to convert conventional machinery to minimum tillage.

This Field Day will be an all day event on October 14; it will start at 9:00am at the Bingara Returned Services Club for an information session and then diverge to three local farms in the Gineroi District.

There will be three different ‘No till” machines on view, plus different examples of plantings and if weather permits the machines will be put through a practical demonstration.

For further information and to book your place please contact UGLA Community Support Officer Frances Young on Ph: 02 67242052 Mob: 0427291073 or Email: cso@gwydir.nsw.gov.au  by Monday October 11.