Thursday, October 06, 2011

Carbon Cockies mean business

“Sustainability is not an environmental goal. It is a practical business goal,” says Louisa Kiely of Carbon Farmers of Australia, the organiser of the Awards. “Cooperating with Mother Nature is good business because there can be no economy without an environment that works.”

A profile of the Carbon Farmer is emerging from the winners of the Award in the 5 years it has been conducted as part of the Carbon Farming Conference:

· Unconventional in their thinking.

· Curious to find a better way.

· Open to possibilities.

· Inventive approach to solving problems.

· Independent of the opinions of others.

· Passionate about finding solutions.

· Concerned about the future.

· Generous with their time.

The following are the winners of the National Carbon Cocky Awards 2011:


WINNER: John & Robyn Ive, “Talaheni”, Yass

SPONSOR: Best Environmental Technologies

PHOTO: The Ives receiving their Award from Darryl Paulus, General Manager of Best Environmental Technologies.

John and Robyn Ive run a 250 ha family farm in Murrumbateman, specialising in ultrafine wool production, Angus cattle and farm forestry. John was named Conservation Farmer of the Year in September 2009 by the Conservation Agriculture and No-till Farming Association NSW and won the UN World Environment Day Triple Bottom Line Award 2004. Features of the property management include extensive plantings (250,000 trees) to address salinity, withdrawal of 25% of the property from agriculture, replaced by woodlots and corridors, with a simultaneous increase of biodiversity and no loss of production despite the reduction in operational space. John’s focus is on soil moisture which he has measured for nearly 20 years on his farm, “Talaheni”. Recently he has integrated these results with those predicted from daily estimates over these two decades from ten global climate agencies. He has achieved benefits from adopting procedures for increasing soil carbon over the past 30 years on the family farm where soil carbon has lifted from two per cent to near seven per cent before slipping in 2010. Further he recognises that sequestration can increase rainfall infiltration. With soil moisture a priority, John Ive is targeting ways of reducing run off, improving soil structure and increasing water use efficiency of pastures by encouraging and planting deeper rooting perennial pastures. John was chosen as a Climate Champion as part of the GRDC’s climate change adaptation education and outreach program. Congratulations, John and Robyn.



WINNER: Martin Royds,”Jillamatong”, Braidwood

SPONSOR: YLad Living Soils

PHOTO: Martin receiving his Award from Rhonda Daly of Ylad Living Soils.

Martin Royds farms 2900 ha “Jillamatong” near Braidwood NSW. He has incorporated the best ideas from a wide range of sources into his farm plan, including Holistic Management, Biodynamics, and Natural Sequence Farming. He practices Pasture Cropping and produces 90% of his own fertilisers using worm farms, compost heaps, compost teas and biodynamic preparations. Biodiversity plantings along ridges increases fertility and attracts birds and insects while stock process and leave fertility at the top of slopes, attracted there to the shade after feeding on lowland pastures. Leaky weirs in erosion zones spread water to rehydrate flood plains and promote pasture growth. Compost heaps on the slopes leach nutrients down the slope. A mineral trailer allows stock to self select supplements including sea weed, lime calcium, and wattle bark (tannins) to reduce methane. Stock can also self-medicate by browsing medicinal herbs, shrubs and trees. Pastures have more than 80 species of grasses, legumes and forbes. Martin has a multi-level enterprise, featuring fertilisers, truffles, yabbies, fish, beef and timber. He has reversed erosion gulleys to slow water, process nutrients and then spread fertility up the landscape by using stock management, paddock design and tree planting. Congratulations, Martin.



JOINT WINNER: Cameron McKellar, “Inveraray Downs”, Spring Ridge


PHOTO: Cam McKellar receiving his Award from Daniel Linklater, representing N/C-Quest.

Cameron McKellar conducts a very successful biological farming operation on his 1300 ha property “Inveraray Downs” at Spring Ridge, NSW. Ten years ago he shifted from chemicals to natural fertilisers such as kelp and fish emulsion before introducing his own composting system to avoid fluctuations in prices. Soil organic matter registered 3% in the top 30cm and 2.5% in the 30-60cm profile, up from less than 0.5% in the late ‘80’s. Cam combines dryland and irrigation cropping under no-till cultivation, including slashing of stubble. He also runs a herd of Belted Galloways which are also used to process stubble. A small woodland area is managed for timber and biodiversity. He tests his soils every 6 months. Cam has been an active member of the Carbon Coalition and hosted many delegations on site visits, most notably the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott and former Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffery. Congratulations, Cam.



JOINT WINNER: Charlie Arnott & Dick Richardson, “Hanaminno”, Boorowa


PHOTO: Charlie Arnott receiving his Award from Daniel Linklater, representing N/C-Quest.

Charlie Arnott & Dick Richardson manage the 2127 ha “Hanaminno”, near Boorowa, NSW. They practice pasture cropping, large scale tree planting, holistic management of stock, pastures, water and soil, use no chemicals or inorganic fertilisers, minimal machinery use, retain ground cover at all times and do not supplementary feed stock. All this results in less diesel being used, carbon sequestration through tree growth and soil organic matter production and effective mineral cycling through strategic grazing management. Environmental outcomes of all management practices determine the direction of the business. They facilitate HM workshops and Biodynamic training workshops and produce BD preparations for others. They won the 2011 Conservation Farmer of the Year for the Lachlan Catchment. Congratulations, Dick and Charlie



WINNER: Bob & Anne Davie, “Bimbadeen”, Phillip Island, VIC

SPONSOR: Principle Focus

Bob & Anne Davie, manage the carbon footprint of their 144 ha at “Bimbadeen”, Phillip Island, VIC by addressing their emissions. Their Angus beef enterprise has become more productive and efficient as a result of the way they manage their stock and their pastures. They have used breeding, feed supplements and pasture management to produce animals that release less methane. Cattle that produce less methane put on weight quickly with less feed. The faster the weight gain, the quicker the Davies can turn the cattle over which means less overheads for each kilo of meat they sell. Cattle provided with fresh grass emit less methane, so the Davies have pasture cropped ryegrass varieties into their perennial pasture which is kept fresh by managed rotational grazing. They sell beef direct to the market under two brands, Enviromeat and Gippsland Natural, using their online presence. Water is a concern and they reduce evaporation from their dams and troughs by covering them with protective silicon film. Biodiversity is encouraged by the planting of 45,000 trees. A framework for sustainability for the business plan is provided by Bimbadeen’s adoption of the environmental Management System AS/NZ ISO 14001 Compliance. Trials have just begun to determine the link between land management and soil carbon. Congratulations, Bob and Anne.



WINNER: Victoria Royds, “Bedervale”, Braidwood, NSW.

SPONSOR: Seasol Commercial

Victoria Royds took over managing a family property - “Bedervale”, near Braidwood – three years ago and set a comprehensive list of goals, including soil health, biodiversity, productivity, vegetation, water dynamics, etc. She immediately divided the 520 ha property’s 19 paddocks into 32 as part of a plan to bring all paddocks down to 10 ha each. Pasture is grazed until there is a third grazed, a third left and a third litter, with the paddock rested for 10-12 weeks. Her aim is 100% groundcover. Emulating her brother and fellow Award winner Martin, she is establishing compost heaps on slopes so nutrients can leach downhill. Riparian zones have been fenced, with off-stream watering points established and in-stream ‘structures’ repaired which have improved flow and purity. 6000 trees have been planted. 5 monitoring points have been established. Victoria is an active member of Landcare and Natural Sequence Farming. She is currently undergoing training in Holistic Management, Compost Tea, and Prograze Plus. Congratulations, Victoria.

NB. Profiles of the CMA Carbon Cocky Winners will be provided soon..

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