The SRF Farmer Support & Application Day was an additional day offered to farmers who wanted to take the learnings from Dr Christine Jones on the previous day to the next level of applying the ideas to their own context.
The day was run by Soil Restoration Farming with members of their unique Coaching Community inspiring thought through mini-presentations on “Zero-kill, multi-species cover crops” by Nyngan Seed Graders; “Regenerative Business Directory” by Farming Revolution; “DIY Johnson Su” by Biotiful; and “Know thy microbes and make better decisions on farm” by EarthWhile Australia.
Every attendee got to introduce themselves and name their key takeaways, challenges and opportunities from the previous day at the outset which created a better understanding of where farmers were at and was a great way to get to know each other invoking some cool story telling along the way.
The day was supported by a collection of invited businesses and organisations who explained their products and services and formed an EXPO creating opportunities for farmers to learn more over meal breaks. Thanks to Seasol, Jorobi Natural Fertilisers, Converte, Carbon Sync, NutriSoil Biological Solutions, Carbon West and RegenWA for making this event possible.
The afternoon workshopping took attendees to the heart of where our headspace needs to be to succeed in transitioning to more diverse above-ground plant species and increased microbial diversity below-ground.
Dr Christine Jone’s soil health message of increasing microbial diversity through the root exudates of diverse plant species and functional families is a great idea, but with unique soil and land characteristics, matching species to land is the major challenge. Whilst some would prefer to be given a program, this is a recipe for one-off trials. Embarking on this journey requires asking the right questions about the dynamics of your paddocks in order to learn from all outcomes, expected or unexpected, rather than lucky guessing by trialling programs developed elsewhere.
Another major challenge frequently raised was seed availability and also seed without conventional dressings that were antagonistic to microbial life. Biological inoculants were encouraged by Dr Jones, hence several of the companies who were invited to the EXPO, were suppliers of quality products.
The four-key working groups covered: 1/Increasing species diversity;
3/Building carbon; and
Half their time was spent coming up with the pertinent questions to uncover needs and the other half was focussed on possibilities. The outcomes of the groupwork can be found on the SRF website – www.soilrestorationfarming.com.au
The SRF Café at the Dandaragan Hall with catering led by locally born Andrew Bennet, was abuzz in all the breaks with quality food to nourish our bodies and minds.
Thank you, Dandaragan CRC and Shire of Dandaragan, for welcoming us to your town. Local farmer, and SRF Coaching Community member, Christine Smith was instrumental in supporting us to put the event together, as were the other coaching community members, Ellen Walker, Bonnie Dunlop & Georgie Marsh of EarthWhile Australia, Tamzin Revell of Farming Revolution, Martin Williams of Nyngan Seed Graders, Rebekah Cumming of Converte & The Rural Coach, Leah Worsnop of Transformation Ag, Kathy Hubble of Biotiful, Justin Armstrong of Soil Restoration Farming and Amanda Rowland of www.soilandhumanhealth.com who wrapped up the day with a beautiful weave of thoughts, ideas and progress towards a future we would love to be part of.
And last but not least, thank you to the engaged and engaging farmers from Dandaragan and across the state many of who spent the 2-days learning, networking and sharing their stories. We look forward to staying in touch to help you on this fun but challenging journey.