Page 1 of 1

Hello. Newbies starting out

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:54 am
by Darryl
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.

Re: Hello. Newbies starting out

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:26 am
by duane
Hi Darryl

Just saw your post and read and your family are well on the way to restoring your system. Well done.

If we had more posts like yours, this site would still be active. But its now an 'archive' of a time when NSF first came to national attention.

the people who all contributed are still around but they, like you, have moved or are moving forward.

Peter now has a new website and blog at and although I no longer work for Peter, he and I are part of the TPT team that run the 4 day workshops.

Mulloon Creek have four new workshops planned for March and April 2019 and if you can get to one, the practical learnings would be invaluable to you managing your excess overland water and fertility.

Otherwise, your post is full of inspirational stuff.

Re: Hello. Newbies starting out

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:51 pm
by Darryl
Hi Duane.

Thanks for your positive comments.

I have already put my name forward to one of the courses at the Mulloon institute and am just waiting to hear back. The course will fit in perfectly at the start of a large block of annual leave for me which will allow us to get straight into applying what I learn whilst it is still fresh in my mind.

As mentioned in my original post, I will be documenting everything that we do right from the start of this journey and am looking at putting it all online so others can see what we have done and what has worked for us.

I am sure that we will have many questions and ideas we will want to share over the years.

I would like to think that with the recent drought conditions coupled with the media coverage of NSF and all of the courses / new people, that this forum can reborn and we can all share and help each other along the way.

Re: Hello. Newbies starting out

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:30 pm
by duane
Hi Darryl

Looking forward to meeting you at Mulloon in 2019.

This site is a great resource...lots of relevant info.

Also, Peter's new website is excellent and for participants of TPT you can join

Re: Hello. Newbies starting out

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 12:03 pm
by ginsling
Hi all who are still reading,
we are also just starting out, in the Perth Hills in WA towards the Wheatbelt area.

We have just acquired about 600 acres, 2/3 of it wooded but logged extensively prior to 1950 (and the previous owner not shy about ringbarking what's left), 1/5 of it salt laden eroded winter creek, some fresh superficial water, the remainder bare infertile soil where the land has been cropped and grazed to smithereens. So needless to say it wasn't sold as productive farmland.

First plan of action is to slow the water ingress (from the neighbour's property) across the valley floor where the creek runs through our property (even though we are actually quite high up the creek line, the water table has risen all the way to the creek), and create leaky weirs with rocks and fallen logs (plenty of salt-killed trees along the whole creek :( ). The creek area is mostly fenced off so don't have to worry about sheep invading that area (a farmer brings sheep on and off to keep the grass down). Manure spreading on the higher parts (which do need fencing), which are mostly treed, but clearly there is a lack of water to the tree roots, as branches are dying and falling on various species (predominantly a mix of wandoo, jarrah, marri hardwood, and banksia sessilis softwood where there is sand an soil or disturbed areas), hence hoping to build up carbon in the soil with the intent to hold more water at the high points.

Would like to do contour banks as well, but that will be a bit longer term because of equipment requirements. Making do with just building up the contours with the old logs in the open paddocks (manageable with a chain and a trailer and a ute!).

Would like to try and get to a 4 day course but time/money etc might be the constraint there.

Cheers to all.

Re: Hello. Newbies starting out

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:31 pm
by duane
Sounds like a great place to start.....

Re: Hello. Newbies starting out

Posted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:12 pm
by rookierappaz
Alpacas hey, what are the benefits of that specific animal?