Trees bring farm to lifeadmin | December 7, 2011
By Kath SullivanTuesday, 6 December 2011
When he first arrived at Nambrok, the McGauran family property between Sale and Rosedale, Matt Kilby found says the farm was barren.
“I found about 1 per cent of this 3,000-acre (120-hectare) property had tree cover. The land was dry and scalded. There was no grass. Erosion was happening where the bulls had been walking to and fro the watering holes. And I thought wow, what an opportunity to show the public what we can actually do!”.
Part arborist/part farm consultant, Mr Kilby has spent the last 18 months working with the McGauran family to restore part of the farm, by planting trees and introducing swales.
He says the fact that former federal agriculture minister Peter McGauran comes from a property with almost no trees is indicative of the way many Australian farmers view the land.
It’s attitude he’s determined to change.
When Matt Kilby first arrived at Nambrok, just one per cent of the 3000 acre/ 120 hectare property was under trees. He’s trying to change that by planting hundreds of seedlings like this one. | Photographer: | Kath Sullivan
“The first thing we did was put in a swale. A swale is a ditch which runs dead level to contour. The idea of the swale is more or a tree planting system.” he said.
“We plant all our trees on the top side of the swale. We plant fertility building trees and all the leaf mulch falls into the swale or ditch, and turns into humic acid when it fills up with water. So all the nutrients are then spread back onto the surface and spread completely around the landscape.” he said, describing the swale as a natural way to irrigate.
Mr Kilby, who works along the east coast of Australia, and in the middle east to restore soil and farm productivity.
He says he’s ideas have had a mixed feedback from farmers.
“Farmers are a very conservative bunch. and talk is cheap and so what we’re doing is getting out there and doing the work.
“It might take me 10 years to convince people, but we’ve got to have a go. We’ve got to show farmers that there is a more sustainable way of farming… building our soils back, building profitability and building nutrition in our food.”
Matt Kilby talks about restoring Nambrok – Click the play button below.
Original article http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2011/s3384788.htm