October 2011 to March 2013

On the left is Colin Seis' 50 cm top soil. On the right is his elder brother's farm, with only 10 cm of top soil. These pictures are on either side of a fence

Oct 2011. Failed Triticale and Rape. Planted 4 months earlier

David Croxford taking Soil tests Dec 2011

Sprayed out with Gramoxone rather than Glyphosate. Gramoxone is less toxic to microbes

Drilling cover crop, end of Dec 2011. Millet, cowpeas, white clover, sunflowers and rape.

Left to photosynthesize until early May.

Due to big wet, unable to plant planned winter cover crop. However, by Nov 2012, this is what grew. Christine says they are annuals but part of the process of colonization

Because the soil tests were so poor, it was necessary to replace some S and P. Rather than spray with Glyphosate, which contrary to popular belief, does destroy soil microbes, we chose to spray weeds with gromoxone. The seed was drilled at the end of Dec 2011. No rain until the end of January.  We then had pretty good germination, given the circumstances. The cover crop was left  undisturbed, happily photosynthesizing until the first week in May when we put the cattle in to crash graze it in preparation for a winter cover crop.

Heavy rains precluded this option because the paddock was just too wet to get any equipment in. Interestingly, dense clover seemed to explode out of the ground all through autumn and winter followed by wispy annual grasses in the spring

Christine saw the pictures: In Nov 2012 she wrote:
Hello Paddy


You're on the way!! Topsoil is a product of photosynthesis so the more plants you have for as much of the year as possible, the more fertile and productive your land will be.

The grasses in the photos appear to be annuals but that's the way succession works - they are the colonisers. Provided you don't spray them out (which simply creates bare ground for more of the same) and provided you keep up with the rotational grazing, the paddock will move towards perennial grasses.

I'm presuming the paddock will be grazed hard and then direct sown using some kind of tyned implement? 
Diversity above ground improves the interconnections in the soil food-web below ground. The brassicas looked good last year. I've discovered that provided they aren't a monoculture, they do no harm to mycorrhizal fungi.

Dec 2012 and January 2013 were particularly dry and hot. At the end of Feb we had 100 mm of rain over two days follwed by a few days sunshine, followed by a further 50 mm . I was able to drill a winter cover crop(oats, cowpeas, arrowleaf clover, leafy turnips, plantain and chicory)  in  between these rainy episodes. YAY!!!!!!!  Never sprayed any weeds. Just drilled. Thus far quite good germination. Photos to follow.

Latest comments

28.04 | 17:47

Wow, I lived on the Haye's farmstead for a couple of years, crazy to hear of this fire coming through. Hope I can visit again one day.

15.08 | 01:17

This is all brilliantly documented Paddy - am so totally inspired by how you have transformed Dunblane.

31.07 | 06:36

Hi Peter, exciting indeed. Suggest you contact a Rory O'Leary at BVSC. He is the economic development officer. Big focus on Eden Another farmersnet@fscla.org.au

31.07 | 02:48

Sounds exciting! I'd like to discuss how this might fit in with some other opportunities for the Port of Eden.