Ecosystems and profitability go hand in hand

October 30, 2009

“Pastures need to function like grasslands, with many diverse plant species which are drought tolerant and have low fertiliser requirements” according to Colin Seis from Gulgong, one of the guest speakers at the Ecosystems and Profitability Forum, held recently in Bingara.

Mr Seis is a well known exponent of pasture cropping, which he asserts energises the existing pasture while providing extra income through harvesting the crop. “Never plough and never kill perennial species” was another of his messages.

Colin Seis, Dr. Judi Earl, Martin Babakhan, Bob Muir and Garry McDouall.

The two day forum, which was presented by the Upper Gwydir Landcare Association and the Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA, delivered the message that biodiversity benefits profitability.

The other speakers on the day were Dr Judi Earl, who runs a business focused on natural resource management and local farmer, Mr Garry McDouall who is presently a consultant and facilitator with Resource Consulting Services.

Dr Earl asserted that “there is as much going on below the soil as above but at present we are only managing for one spoke of the wheel.” Her address revolved around how to manage all the spokes.

Mr McDouall gave participants the message that “the future will be different! We are all facing major changes and how we deal with those changes will determine our success. The one constant is change.” Mr McDouall also encouraged the audience to “focus on profitability, not production.”

At the end of the day, a site visit was made to the Bingara Common to look at soil structure and ground cover. Considering the management of set stocking over a long period, the diversity and ground cover on the Common were doing remarkably well, participants agreed.

Well known meteorologist, Martin Babakhan was the guest speaker at the forum dinner held on Wednesday evening at the Bingara Sporting Club. Mr Babakhan, who is a regular guest on ABC Radio New England said he wanted to hear questions from Bingara listeners about farming and the weather on his radio segment.

In a wide ranging address, Mr Babakhan presented  a huge amount of information to the forum diners, including the fact that 87% of rainfall is lost to evaporation in Australia. According to Mr Babakhan, our future prosperity depends on wise management of the world’s most precious resource – water.”

The second day saw the guest speakers and forum participants gather at John and Jill Herring’s property, “Beaufort”, for a practical session applying the information that was presented the day before. Participants then visited Garry and Linda McDouall’s property, Yarraman, to see the positive effects of time controlled grazing and natural fertilisers.

The two day forum was judged extremely informative and useful  by those who attended.