In 2014 Shane Joyce bought his new farm at Kilkivan keeping in mind the importance of permanent water, good soil, proximity to market and an airport. Before he bought the property he took soil tests and on arriving he immediately sprayed biodynamic preparations over the entire 141 hectare farm. His next step was to establish observation points so that he could measure change as he improved the farm.
The farm was an ex dairy farm divided into 19 paddocks. So that Shane could holistically manage the cattle, he used electric fencing to further divide 1 paddock into a further 6 paddocks. Then using temporary electric fencing he further divided one of the new paddocks into 8 strips, allowing much better management of pasture growth. The cattle were selected for their suitability to the climate and for their natural ability to digest poor grasses.
Over time he has been eliminating Giant Rat’s Tail Grass by spot spraying with acetic acid and he has been dealing with pasture dieback. Shane views both problems as signs of a poor soil and will go with his improvements.
Shane has restored the phragmites in the gullies which has rehydrated his landscape in that area. Phragmites is one of Peter Andrews favourite plants to repair waterways. Crystal clear water containing no soil or nutrients now leave his property.
A new development has recently been initiated in the home paddock: Syntropic farming. Shane is very keen with the potential it promises and has enrolled the help of Matthew to help him. It is part of his philosophy to share the farm with others.
Bonus – An Illustrated Guide to Agroforestry
Letter to Members