OFF-STREAM WATERING SYSTEMS
Holistic management is the process of observing our environment and making decisions
regarding little changes to the way we do things so the complex system is better managed as a whole.
Rainfall figures over time have not decreased but farms seem to be now more affected by drought. On averages our farms still get the same level of rainfall, but our streams are drying up. If our management of the land ensures there is a total ground cover, then every drop of rainfall counts, and it infiltrates the soil to recharge the groundwater system. This groundwater gradually seeps into our streams and they keep flowing. Bare soils mean much of the rainfall is lost to evaporation (sometimes 70% or so) and the rest flows overland to streams. The water quickly leaves the system and is no longer available in times of drought.
Holistic Management encourages and challenges us to change the way we think (our paradigms) and therefore change the way we manage our properties.
A covering of mulch/ litter helps stop evaporation, but mulch is not an effective tool on large grazing farms. Animals can be used to increase the mulch/ litter layer and reduce evaporation. This is especially the case in what are termed ‘brittle’ environments. Brittle environments are the more arid environments that cover most of Australia, whereas non-brittle environments are the wetter environments such as coastal landscapes . Brittle environments have erratic moisture and plant (and animal) decay (to create mulch and more soil) is a problem because there is not enough moisture.
Even if ‘brittle’ environments are rested by removing cattle from the paddocks for a time, biodiversity doesn’t come back. In these environments, animals can help break down plant material, breakup up the soil surface, and spread nutrients around. This happens best when animals such as cattle are bunched in the way they would naturally graze. But we as managers need to make the best decisions about how long animals graze in a particular area and how long the same area is given to recover after grazing.
As land managers we need to continually plan, monitor, control what we are doing and then re-plan. As holistic managers we need to step back and look at the whole picture.
Watch a Ted talk by Allan Savory: https://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change?language=en
Watch a short video from Stewart Shand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j12BL3ZbChc
Attend a course. Excellent courses on Holistic Management are run by Brian Wehlburg at Outside Inside management: see https://www.insideoutsidemgt.com.au/
"Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principle and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services. Regenerative Agriculture aims to capture carbon and above ground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulations. At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming and ranching communities. The system draws from decades of scientific and applied research by the global communities of organic farming, agroecology, Holistic Management, and agroforestry. "
The WA Landcare Network has compiled a list of useful resources for understanding principles and practices of regenerative agriculture, featuring a few of our very own NSW Landcarers who are leading the way. Find out more: http://www.landcarewa.org.au/resources/hot-topics/regenerative-agriculture/