Burdekin graziers looking for ways to make their land more sustainable and drought-resistant will have the opportunity to learn about Natural Sequence Farming at an event on 14 and 15 June 2016, featuring renowned agricultural pioneer Peter Andrews.

The event will be hosted by NQ Dry Tropics, the Bowen and Collinsville Landcare group and Mark and Debbie Perkinson at Five Mile Station, Bowen. Participants will learn ways to address issues such as: lack of available farm water, especially during  drought; stream, gully and wind erosion; watershed dislocation; declining fertility; and lack of biodiversity.

“Graziers are looking for approaches they can use on their properties to reduce sediment losses and build resilience, and the Australian Government is supporting this effort through the Reef Programme,” said Sam Skeat, NQ Dry Tropics Field Officer.

Landcare Secretary Lisa Hutchinson said, “The Bowen and Collinsville Landcare Group was very excited when approached by NQ Dry Tropics about finding a host for this workshop.  Hydrology and erosion are very serious issues in our region and this is a wonderful opportunity for producers to gain technical knowledge and “hands on” experience”.

Peter Andrews was awarded Australia’s highest public award, the Order of Australia Medal in 2011, for his work on restoring the landscape. His Natural Sequence Farming approach is aimed at restoring natural water cycles that allow the land to flourish despite drought conditions.

“This low-cost, widely applicable method of reducing drought severity and boosting productivity on properties is based on ecological principles. It offers low input requirements and natural cycling of water and nutrients to make the land more resilient,” said Peter.

Peter grew up on a station near Broken Hill before becoming a grazier and race horse breeder in Bylong in the Upper Hunter Valley. Over 30 years ago, he purchased Tarwyn Park, a run-down 2000 acre grazing property, and started testing the theories that he had been developing since he was a child.

By 1976, he believed that the model he had set up on Tarwyn Park was an example of a sustainable agricultural system. Peter called the model Natural Sequence Farming, describing how the ancient Australian landscape functioned.

Natural Sequence Farming is based on the principle of reintroducing natural landscape patterns and processes as they would have existed in Australia prior to European settlement.

“This includes reintroducing of a natural valley flow pattern, which reconnects the stream to its floodplain and reintroduces a more natural hydrological and fertility cycle to that landscape,” he said.

“Through a managed succession of the vegetation, the natural fluvial pattern could be ‘regrown’, so that the nutrients and biomass harvested on the floodplain could be redistributed throughout the property and obviously through the stock,” said Peter.

Graziers wishing to attend the field day should register by contacting NQ Dry Tropics on 07 4724 3544 or 0439 661 961 or email sam.skeat@nqdrytropics.com.au.