Resilient Farming

Natural strategies for improving land productivity while reducing dependencies on external inputs

The current state of typical North Canterbury pasture land:

  • Soil compaction caused by use of heavy machinery and stock density leads of increased run-off, nutrient loss and possible erosion
  • Susceptibility to drought conditions
  • Exposure to wind
  • Low levels of organic matter, carbon and biological life in soil
  • Reliance on external nutrient inputs and their associate costs

All of these factors can be addressed by implementing the following:

  • Planting of drought resistant fodder tree species such as tagasaste and salt bush
  • Use nitrogen fixing tree species to boost soil fertility below the surface
  • Trees reduce extreme winds, shade and protect soil, increase humidity and offer improved environment for young animals
  • Root action loosens and aerates soil for better plant growth
  • Flowers and seeds food for native and beneficial species
  • Run rows or double offset rows on contour to aid water infiltration and prevent erosion
  • Space rows wide enough to inter crop and allow access with machinery

Objections and hurdles to overcome

  • Rows need to be temporary fenced or animals kept out of entire block during establishment, 2 - 3 years minimum. During this time inter-cropping could make up the lost production (hay, cereals etc.)
  • Cost of establishment and lost production during establishment phase

Case studies