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CLIMATE READY FARMS FOR THE FUTURE Sassafras farmer Matthew Young is preparing his farm for the future. He gathers information, uses sustainable farming practices that maintain soil health, saves energy and diversifies his cropping enterprises. Matthew was a member of the Climate Ready Farming Leaders (CRFL) group that participated in a 3 year project run by Cradle Coast NRM, Serve-Ag and RMCG. CRFL helped farmers preparing for climate change through providing information and fostering skills required to adapt to change on farms.

CASE STUDY

Matthew joined the CRFL group because “Climate change is something that is happening whether you agree with everybody that we’re causing it or it’s just a cycle. It doesn’t really matter it’s still happening. The more information you can get the better it is to deal with it.” Through regular workshops, trials, bus trips and on ground monitoring activities farmers were exposed to different management options, business models and enterprises dealing with change. Farmers were subjected to new opportunities with a focus on climate, changing consumer’s preferences, developing new business ideas and sustainable farm practices. Through the group’s activities Matthew says he confirmed that “the practices we are putting in place are actually doing the soil good.” “We reduced all our diesel use just by going to one pass (cultivation), we use a quarter of the diesel we used to. By not doing three passes over the one paddock, we are doing it quicker and using less diesel, which is the way it usually works. It seems to be improving things (soil health) which is what we hope to do.” The group tours and discussions had an impact, “One (field visit) that I remember was variable water rate pivots. We are looking at putting a pivot in at some stage, we have very varied soil types and it is something that we can certainly look into getting into with what we want to do.” Prior to his involvement with the CRFL project Matthew saw a new cropping opportunity in growing Celeriac corms for the fresh market. This provided a good example for the others in the group to learn from. Matthew explained “We had been talking about doing some fresh market stuff.” (Tas Fresh) had a stand at Agfest and had these funny looking bulbs and they said ‘you should grow it’. And I had to ask, what is it? It was Celeriac. So then we gave it a go and it has grown from there.”

“..they had a stand at Agfest and had these funny looking bulbs and they said ‘you should grow it’. And I had to ask, what is it? It was Celeriac. So then we gave it a go and it has grown from there…”

“We started off with 1,500 cormes and now have 15,000 which equates to about half a hectare. Out of 15,000 cormes you probably get 14,000 saleable items out of it. So we get a good return for it.” The celeriac is planted using a transplanter and then harvested and washed by hand during the months of April to August. Celeraic is graded according to size with larger ones sold to restaurants, mediums to Melbourne Market and smalls to local fresh markets. “People won’t buy big ones as they don’t know what it is. They are more inclined to try something the size of a tennis ball than the size of a softball or basket ball.” Matthew has future plans to expand his Celeriac crop and this year will try new ways of marketing the bulbs through packaging them in boxes of 10 .

Matthew Young in his Celeriac crop


WH AT ’ S B E E N AC H I E VE D ? The CRFL project has been successful in building understanding of climate change for the farmers involved. Over the 3 years 19 training activities were held to provide information on topics that the farmer groups raised. Reflections from some of the farmers, below, describe the impacts the project has had on them and their future plans; “By learning the nuts and bolts of climate change and having read reports by CSIRO and relevant bodies, I have realised the importance of climate change. That farmers as a group and individually have to be quite aware what is coming up in the future so that people change with it and keep pace, hopefully a couple of steps in front. As regards to what we grow I think what we do now isn’t necessarily what we may be doing in the future. We need ongoing education and to keep abreast of temperature and rainfall changes.” Richard Lee, Preston “I have stopped my bore, because I calculated that I was paying $850 per Mega litre of water... So I need to have another pump, because it was a 30KW pump and is hanging 30meters deep and I only get little bits of water. They told me I could do it with a 7KW and saving a heel of a lot of power. I Before I didn’t really think about it I just switched it on. I just had a smile on my face when there was water coming out of that pipe.” North Motton farmer

Group bus trips Woolnorth (above) & Truffles Australia (below)

Below: Project Officer Rosie James with Tony Badcock discuss soil compaction

“To do with irrigation.. We implemented the variable speed on the electromagnetic driver (for pivot irrigator). It was advised to us but I had already picked up before that it would be really good and it should have a positive impact on our energy bills.” Johan Wolfert, Kindred

WH O W AS I N VO L V E D & F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N ? The Climate Ready Farming Leaders Project was presented by the Cradle Coast Authority with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry under Farm Ready, part of Australia’s Farming Future. The following people were involved in the delivery of the CRFL project; Rosie James & Rebecca Clarkson (Serve-Ag), Doris Blaesing & Anna Renkin (RMCG), James Shaddick & Hannah Sadler (Cradle Coast NRM) and Sophie Folder (Pear Consulting). Further information on project activities can be obtained from Cradle Coast NRM, Serve-Ag or RMCG.

R E GI O N AL N R M S T R AT E G Y This case study relates to the following Cradle Coast NRM program outcome; The knowledge gained and changes implemented by the pilot group of Climate Ready Farming Leader farmers will have been extended in the Cradle Coast region, increasing the capacity of other farmers to adapt to climate change. The Cradle Coast regional NRM strategy can be found online at www.cradlecoastnrm.com/hot-topics-current/2010-15-naturalresource-management-strategy-for-the-cradle-coast-region

This case study was collated by Pear Consulting for Cradle Coast NRM

PO Box 338 30 Marine Terrace Burnie Tasmania 7320 Phone: 03 6431 6285 Fax: 03 6431 7014 E-mail: nrm@cradlecoast.com www.cradlecoastnrm.com.

Profile for Cradle Coast Tasmania

Climate Change - Climate ready farms for the future  

Sassafras farmer Matthew Young is preparing his farm for the future. He gathers information, uses sustainable farming practices that mainta...

Climate Change - Climate ready farms for the future  

Sassafras farmer Matthew Young is preparing his farm for the future. He gathers information, uses sustainable farming practices that mainta...