Hello. Newbies starting out

Any questions or comments you have about Natural Sequence Farming processes. These could include general questions or ones about your personal problems.

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Please remember, Natural Sequence Farming has to be tailored for your specific problem and to follow general advice may create more problems for you.

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Hello. Newbies starting out

Postby Darryl » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:54 am

Hello all.

My wife, 2 young daughters and I live on 80 acres an hour north of Canberra. We have been on the property for just under 4 years and have made plenty of mistakes along the way. We are running a small heard of alpacas as well as up to 6 miniature steers all on a planned grazing system.
Prior to us moving here the property was in the same family for several generations and run as a conventional sheep farm.
We have divided the property into 6 paddocks (each approx 10 acres) for the cattle and 5 paddocks (from 1.7 to 5.5 acres) for the alpacas. We have plans to further develop these paddocks once we have a reliable water source.

We have 4 tree lines of old conifers and eucalyptus trees along with a total of 7 eucalyptus trees scattered in 5 of the paddocks, over the 80 acres. We also have a 120 acre reserve full of eucalyptus trees on our western boundary with a seasonal creek running through it. We have planted just under 100 tagasaste and black wattle trees so far with plans to plant a variety of trees over the next 3 years.

Over the years, I have read many books and articles on permaculture, keyline ploughing and holistic management.
Last year I was introduced to Natural Sequence Farming and have read both of Peter’s books from cover to cover twice (some sections 5 or 6 times). Suffice it to say that we are very keen to implement Peters techniques onto our property.
I have seen a lot of the videoclips online and have got stuck into the posts in this forum.

I am hoping to attend the NSF 4 day course sometime this year - work permitting.
We have been fortunate enough to meet a family who have attended the course and highly recommend it. They have given us a few tips to get started.

This year we plan to fence off at least 3 areas where the water comes onto / sits on our property, + 4 of our dams.
We are going to install leaky weirs along the water ways and plant out the areas with rushes, reeds and a variety of deciduous trees to help filter and add nutrients to the water.

We are also going to put some mulch/compost pits (BTB chapter 18) on the top of all of our slopes to help start improving the soil while we are waiting for more deciduous trees, that we will be planting in those areas, to establish. We will utilize alpaca manure, pre composted chicken litter, roadkill, cardboard, shredded paper and mulch from our local waste transfer station.
This year, instead of spraying, we have let the thistles grow and will be slashing them and the tussocks around them to provide a mulch to protect the soil & feed for the microbes rather than poisoning them.

Along with a few selective trees that we have purchased from a nursery, we are in the process of sourcing our trees, reeds and rushes from neighbours properties, local rivers and from the side of the road. All are proven to grow in our area and our soil. We are not going to be introducing any more eucalyptus trees.

We have two drains running from the road into our paddocks. With rain, these drains are often full with catchment from properties all around our area as we are one of the lowest lying properties. Whenever we get heavy or persistent rain, the water that comes onto our property from the reserve and the road causes extensive flooding (and has caused erosion) in 3 of our paddocks. All of this water runs straight to the bottom of our property.
We would love to put in contour channels but feel we need to be further educated to make sure we are doing it correctly and not making a mess of it all.

Ideally, we will be documenting everything we do and keeping a record of our progress along the way. We are also very interested in monitoring the amount and type of grasses that we have growing in our paddocks and what they are telling us about the soil and hydrology.

As mentioned above, I have spent a lot of time going over the posts in this forum. I have learned a great deal from others experiences.
I have noticed that this forum was very active from inception until around 2012 where it slowed down and, apart from the odd post by Duane, has almost come to a complete stop since 2015.
I am very interested to hear what has happened to all of the people that had previously been very active on this forum and have implemented NSF techniques.

We live 5 mins outside of Dalton (15 from Gunning). If there is anyone in this area , or even a bit further afield, that would like to share what they have done / achieved, we are always interesting in learning.

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