NSF is working in WA

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

We do not endorse any answers from anyone in this forum except Peter Andrews himself.

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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Post by ColinJEly » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:52 am

Hello Ian
You have hit the nail right on the head. Farming is a business, farmers need to put bread on the table. Farmers have limited time and money to work with. For those without prior understanding, or even those who do, but have there backs to the wall, it would appear easy to spread a couple of bags of single super across a paddock, rather than spend 12-18 months improving the health of their farm biologically.
It is a crying shame that the innovation is left to poor farmers like yourself! I used to work with an English scientist who had worked at a research station in the UK where they had grown a crop of wheat in a paddock every year for the last hundred years, he said no-one, NO-ONE!, was doing that sort of long term research anymore.
As for climate change, the climate has always changed, always has, always will. If you are talking about Anthropogenic Global Warming, I have just finished reading Dr Ian Plimer's latest book 'Heaven and Earth' which talks about the onward march of climate swings over the millienia. One good point that he makes is that there is a 22 year sunspot cycle, for one half we have good rain, for the other we have poor rain, and we are just coming out of the cycle. BTW, the great astronomer Herschel noted 200 years ago the correlation between the number of sunspots and the price of wheat. I dont believe that man or his activities can have any other than a very minor effect in the scheme of things on the climate, which is not to say that we cant affect the weather, In Europe the 'wet weekend syndrome' is well known. Instead of wasting our money flying around the globe signing meaningless treaties and otherwise wasting our money on non-exsistant fixes for non-exsistant problems, our governments should be researching ways of dealing with variations in the earths climate so we can adapt/change to them. Think of what just a small amount of what they have wasted so far could have achieved, the 'Bradfield Scheme' would have done a lot to alleviate the plight of the Murray Darling, think of what just a small amount of time, money and effort in your own state could have achieved, planting out things like saltbush in salt prone areas, instead of draining away already precious water?

Ian James
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Location: Avon West Australia

I have a dream

Post by Ian James » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:22 pm

Thanks for your reply Colin.

I find it easy to comprehend that human habitation has the ability to affect the weather and even the climate on a local scale.

Evidence of deforestation as a result of human land management practices leading to desertification is clearly documented in a number of well known instances such as the ancient cultures that developed and failed in North Africa, the Middle East and southern North America.

I also understand and believe that the climate has always changed and always will for reasons way beyond human control and cause.

When local deforestation and desertification occurs simultaneously across the globe through human activity it is logical to expect a combined effect on a global scale.

Global climate change as a result of human habitation becomes evident.

It is also logical to realise that human interaction with the environment has the potential to be the catalyst resulting in changes in local weather patterns along with other events which effect the environment on a global scale such as sun spots, volcanic activity, ect.ect.

Once it is accepted that human interaction with the environment may be the catalyst for change in climate behaviour then study can begin to identify exactly what actions have resulted in what climatic behaviour.

Answers to the above question may then allow for an understanding not only of how it is possible to cause a change in climate behaviour towards global warming or drying but of how it may be possible to reverse a change through our interaction with the environment or to even cause a desired change for our benefit or for the benefit of environmental health in a particular location.

I believe that this is where we now find ourselves in the growing awareness that mankind is developing through our utilisation of modern technology and information sharing systems.

Where this leads us is anyone’s guess but I find it exciting to think about the possibilities in store for human kind once an in depth understanding of our ability to influence the climate on a global scale dawns.

It is a utopian dream to visualise a world where the desertification of landscapes is non existent and areas which were once huge expanses of desert have been carefully restored into lush, thriving productive habitats for all life, it is though, a dream that I enjoy immensely.

Ian James
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Location: Avon West Australia

Cause for excitement.

Post by Ian James » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:55 am

This weekend I am heading north with my family back to a property which we farmed in 1986 and 1987.

After work on Monday I received a call from a young farmer who was interested in NSF.

He told me he had read Peters "BFTB" initially and had become so intrigued by the content that he had since begun his own research to learn more.

He explained that he had met and spoken to me at the expo in April in Northam where I had set up a stall outside the conference room where Peter was to speak.

He had also become a member of our association and read Peter's second book "BTB".

He is convinced that we are on the right track to sustainability but following the 2006 drought was unable to continue farming his own property.

Frustrated with constantly thinking about NSF and discovering new and innovative farming methods that could possibly answer his most troubling concerns about the degradation of his beloved soils and landscapes he took a job on nearby farm but could not bite his tongue as his boss continued with the standard chemical farming system broadly accepted in the area.

He voiced his frustrations to Mark, his brother in law who farms north of Mollerin in the upper Mortlock catchment, a tributary to the Avon.

He explained his newfound knowledge but was unable to get much traction as many of the concepts he was sharing were still only recently sown in his own fertile mind.

By chance he mentioned my name and that he had spoken to me in Northam at the expo where he had found some clarity during our discussion.

Turns out that the property owned and managed by Mark is the same one I farmed with my father as a youth fresh out of high school. Mark's family bought the farm as I chose to travel to Europe and dad let the lease expire.

Mark and I became great mates so when my name was mentioned Mark suggested an unproductive paddock on the east of the farm which had been left fallow since 2002 could be made available to demonstrate the restorative powers of the Natural Sequence Farming Systems.

On listening to the call I quickly identified the paddock in my memory and recollected its most striking features.

"That paddock has a rock in the middle" I stated.
"It's a big paddock too"
"Yes, 1500 acres"
"I know it"

Here is a picture.

Looks good doesn’t it?
Here is another beautiful shot.

We will be meeting here on Sunday morning with a group of interested local farmers to inspect the site, do some soil tests, create a contour map and explain to those gathered what NSF is all about, what we expect to achieve and how we will put it all to work.

Now that’s really something to get excited about!!!!!

Ian James
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Location: Avon West Australia

Post by Ian James » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:26 am

This farm “Dyard" is known all over WA because the previous owner was .... Wait for it.............."The original architect and father of NO TILL farming."
He took out most the fences, made 1500 acre pdks and built an 80 foot direct drill seeding machine which would spray chemical as it sowed.

He did all this in approximately 1978 to 1982 when I was just a grass hopper.

His idea was to use wide spaced rows up to 30 inches and to sow inter row the following year and crop every year.

Radical and revolutionary at the time.

Unfortunately we had a run of droughts and the business plan failed but his ideas took root.

His name was Johnny Walker and his seeder was named......
"The Mollerin Monster"

Interesting history.

We farmed it for two years when he moved interstate to concentrate his business on a larger scale in Queensland.

It is a landscape of extreme beauty and I used to dream that I would one day own it.

I took a year off to travel Europe and wrote myself off in a terrific road crash.

End of that dream.... I was lucky to wake up.

Life is so strange.

I am really looking forwards to being part of this project!

Just look at it.

Last edited by Ian James on Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ian James
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Location: Avon West Australia

New NSA Sub Commitee

Post by Ian James » Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:54 am

On Sunday morning I traveled north to Mollerin about two hours drive north of Cunderdin to meet with Brendan Barber. Brendan had contacted me during the week to discuss a 1500 acre block of land which had been offered to Brendan by it's owner Mark Sutton for Brendan to attempt a restoration project using methods Brendan had dicovered while reading the two Peter Andrews books.

Brendan enthusiasticaly embraced the concepts and theories presented in Peter's books and has begun discussing the topics with his farming friends with mixed responses.

Mark's response was to offer the degraded block to Brendan with the comment, I'm interested, you show me and let the results do the speaking.

I arrived with my wife Jodi around 9:30 at the 1500 acre paddock and drove carefully along a deep contour bank upwards towards the major feature of the surrounding landscape situated in the center of the paddock which is a granite outcrop surrounded by a smattering of scrubby bush.

The outcrop and bush cover and area of about 5- 10 Ha and on the lower side where the runoff from the rock flows out of the bush is a dam of some 5000 cubic yards.

Ian James
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Post by Ian James » Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:42 am

We could see that the paddock has some badly wind eroded light knolls and also some areas of gully erosion from runoff. The paddock is covered by sparsely distributed tussock grass all mature and dormant, the remnant of some summer rainfalls earlier in the year.

Soil types on the block range from isolated areas of dark red sticky clay loam and some areas of fine deep yellow sand but predominantly the soil is infertile course shale like sand thinly covered with a quartz type of aggregate stone.

At a glance the block shows signs of past cultivation years before which has left some furrows which have since begun to form gully erosion from run off. The surface is generally very firm to crusty and bare interspersed with small areas where dust has collected in small plateau like islands of plant residues and in these small areas (Kitchen table to Serving tray size) a recent gertmination of cape weed, wild turnip and some wild cerial grasses are growing and looking fresh.

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What agreat read

Post by bio-future » Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:06 pm

Hello Ian,

I am really impressed with what you have been doing.
Currently I am studying permaculture, but my background is in the city.

I really see NSF and what you are doing as a pre-cursor and complimentary of permaculture.

With the worlds growing population and rising food costs I see people like yourself as a beacon of hope.

Please don't hesitate to ask me if I can be of any assistance. I will need to do some practical work too. Permaculture is a great system that rely s on bio-diversity to assist in productivity.

I really feel that what you are doing is the foundation for a better way for managing the land. I salute your efforts.

Ian James
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Location: Avon West Australia

Candel in the wind.

Post by Ian James » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:56 am

Hi Bio Future,
Thanks for your comments.

I reckon that anyone who takes the time to understand what NSF is really about and looks into the reasons the methods promoted by NSF are achieving such remarkable results will come to the same conclusions as you have with regard to any form of agriculture.

Permaculture is no different.

Moisture management, healthy balanced biota. Plants as convertors of light energy into soil energy. Maximisation of green surface area is equal to maximisation of energy collection capacity.

Relationship between soil microbe activity and storage of captured energy as soil organic carbon through the decomposition of soil organic matter.

The fixation of carbon from the atmosphere into the soils through the above mentioned processes.

Thanks for your encouraging comments re: beacon of hope.

I really get the feeling of a growing groundswell of awareness dawning at the present time and that is essential for the real "beacon of hope" to develop from what Peter Andrews, the Natural Sequence Farmer has been until very recently and that is a "Candle in the wind"

I won’t hesitate to ask you for assistance for a minute, I have many projects developing and just waiting for some eager hands and minds to take the leap from concept to reality.

When can you start? What can you provide? Come and listen to my plans and see what I am working with and put your energy and knowledge to work.

Please tell me more about permaculture and why you believe it can be assisted by the concepts of NSF

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

North Mollerin "Dyard"

Post by Ian James » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:04 am

When we arrived at the "Dyard" farm, North Mollerin, my wife and I drove straight to the eastern paddock and had a quick look.

No other visitors had arrived at the paddock so we made our way to the homestead and here we found a number of farm utes and a group assembled under a patio around a BBQ area.

In all around 15 farmers and their wives sat talking.

After introductions we began discussing NSF and some of the concepts covered in Peter Andrews, the Natural Sequence Farmer's books.

I spoke about what I had been learning about soil biology and also covered some areas of soil hydrology, biodiversity and carbon and it's role in soil health and energy.

Only one of those present had any idea of what role organic carbon played in a soil
Only that same one had heard the term Mycorrhiza or VAM.

One of the participants felt he was unable to give any credence to NSF because he could not reasonably believe that a profitable crop could be grown if weeds were allowed to grow unhindered.

Another stated that NSF had been successful in the eastern states but would be unworkable here in WA because of climatic differences.

They all listened to me as I did my best to explain my reasons for developing a belief that NSF held some vital information that was critically important to the future of not only our ongoing viability as farmers but to the Australian landscape as a whole.

A lot of discussion was held on the methods and beliefs of those farmers involved in the deep drainage programs currently underway and well funded in the surrounding area.

The one common thread to emerge from the conversation was the universal expression of all these young farmers of shock, horror and disappointment in the ongoing damage and waste of effort and funding of the groups involved in the deep drainage programs.

After some lengthy discussion we decided to drive out to the block to look at a few areas to discuss methods we might employ to test some of the methods described in Peter's books.[/i]

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Post by duane » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:56 pm

One thing I can guarantee without fear or favour....these areas that have installed deep drainage channels will further dry out the oldest, driest continent on Earth and without water there IS no life and ultimately what the children and grandchildren of these areas will inherit IS a desert. GUARANTEED!!!

Ian James
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Location: Avon West Australia

Post by Ian James » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:41 am

Peter will be visiting the Mollerin trial demonstration site for a field walk on the 9th of August start time is 11 am at the Dyard homestead.
BBQ lunch supplied.
Ample time allowed for questions.
All public welcome and encouraged to come and join.
Ring 0429303151
0429303131 for more info.

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Post by duane » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:07 pm


We would all to to hear about your field day with Peter at Mollerin.

Ian James
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Location: Avon West Australia

Post by Ian James » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:13 am

Stay tuned.... info soon to be provided.

The Avon NSF is to hold an open meeting tomorrow at the Meckering sporting club to gather input from all members of the community.
Start time is 10 am
BYO everything to eat.
For info call 0429303151

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Post by duane » Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:35 pm

A BIG VOTE OF THANKS. to Belle Moore, Secretary (Ret'd) Avon Chapter of NSA Inc.

Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2009 12:05 PM
Subject: my resignation from ACNSA

Hi Duane, have officially emailed my resignation from the ACNSA to Ian, so the future of the group is in Ian's hands.
Have enjoyed the exchanges with you over the past couple of years and also listening to Peter last Sunday at Mollerin.

Cheers, Belle

Hi Belle

In planning any new ecosystem there is always a sequence.

The Avon NSA model had/has its primary colonisers or beginners. You were there from the very start.

You played a MAJOR role and now the ground has been prepared for the next secondary colonisers to grow the Avon into a fertile ground for future generations.

You can be proud of your contribution. We are both proud and thankful for your efforts and achievements.

You will always be able to look back and say " I had a role in that".

Well done and a BIG THANK YOU from all of your fellow NSF'ers.

Warm Regards


Duane Norris
National Body of Natural Sequence Association Inc
81 Heath Road
Hardys Bay
NSW 2257

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Post by brettmtl » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:11 pm

What an opportunity Ian,

it is amazing how things work out.

Look forward to the updates

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