Cobwebs were brushed off the old shearing shed, a COVID Safe Event Plan Category 3 was completed, 10 litres of hand sanitiser, paper towels and hospital grade disinfectant were purchased. Queensland Health social distancing and hand washing signs were printed, laminated and nailed up to enable a Natural Sequence Farming Course to be held over four days at Philip and Adele Hughes’ property, Dulacca Downs, from 7th to 10th September.
Tarwyn Park Training founder, coordinator and educator Stuart Andrews conducted the course for 22 participants keen to learn how to rehabilitate, regenerate and rehydrate degraded landscapes using natural farming systems and practices. Gwyn Jones, a specialist in soil health, water management, plant succession and innovative ways to manage weeds was emcee and co-presenter. Hamish Andrews assisted and shared his knowledge of Google Maps and the Queensland Globe.
Morning sessions spent in the shed covering the theory of sustainable natural resource management were supported by afternoons in the paddocks doing field work to learn by actually ‘doing’.
‘One long table’, with weeds as table decorations, added to the ambiance of the historic old shearing shed for a ‘socially distanced’ dinner in support of the Lachlan Hughes Foundation. Lachlan’s vision and passion was the development of regenerative agricultural practices for our grazing lands. He believed that it was possible to rebuild soils and increase their sustainable productive capacity to withstand the variables of rainfall and that this in turn would revitalise rural communities and improve the economic sustainability of the industry by ‘returning life to the land’.
The 4-day event was organised to enable the Inaugural Foundation Scholar, Jack Groat, to complete a Natural Sequence Farming Course that was part of his Scholarship. As it was not possible for him to attend a course at the Mulloon Institute near Bungendore in NSW due to Covid-19 travel constraints, Philip and Adele decided to ‘just run one at home’!
Almost all the participants were from the Western Downs and Maranoa regions, so they will be able to keep in close contact and follow how each others property regeneration work progresses.
Since being awarded the Scholarship Jack and his wife Emma have been working on regenerative agriculture practices on their property Lorraine north of Roma. Work done on leaky weirs and rehabilitating areas along the creeks are already leading to the promotion of plant biodiversity and restoration of erosion areas. Jack now has plans for landscape regeneration and water retention with the use of contours and improved grazing patterns.
Also as part of the Scholarship, Stuart Andrews visited Lorraine the day after the course to discuss and advise on how to further restore degraded areas and creek flats, and improve soil health, water cycles and plant communities using natural sequence farming techniques.
Stuart Andrews is the son of the visionary Peter Andrews, the leading authority on and creator of Natural Sequence Farming.
- The Foundation would like to thank AgriWebb for generously donating Jack a 12-month subscription and technical support for their Farm Management software program. This program has the added advantage of allowing Jack to have a platform to run the satellite pasture monitoring program designed by Phil Tickle of Cibolabs.
- Col Paton, EcoRich Grazing and Rhonda Toms-Morgan, ConnectAg have also visited Jack and Emma to assist them with pasture budgeting and the use of the satellite monitoring to measure kilograms of dry matter per hectare and ground truthing for pasture palatability.
Stuart imparting advice to Jack. Smiling faces after a successful day