Louise Carroll cites a worm farm as the highlight of the recent regenerative cropping field day she helped organise. Not your average domestic worm farm, but a massive purpose-built worm farm producing enough material to contribute to crop fertilisation at Kioma Station in southern Queensland.
The field day at Kioma Station, held with support from Highways and Byways, involved more than 90 farmers who came to hear other local farmers showcase what regenerative cropping practices they were using on their farms and the results they were yielding.
Louise, from Macintyre Ag Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation based at Goondiwindi, said the expertise shared inspired some farmers to look into what could be done incrementally on their farms to increase productivity. Issues discussed focussed on soil health and included homebrew bio-fermented extracts, livestock and worm farms.
“Farmers got to see how a local farm is successfully using regenerative practices to improve the soil. They also learnt how they could implement the practices and some of the challenges they would face along the way,” Louise said.
Louise said another benefit of the field day was the opportunity for farmers to gather, strengthen their networks and gain confidence to embark on something that is new and possibly overwhelming.
“Farmers in our network rarely have the opportunity to step away from their farms for learning, so these sorts of events strengthen rural communities and are also good for farmers’ mental health. For many at the field day, it was an eye opener of what’s possible,” Louise said. The local farmers survived crippling drought before the last two years of good rain. However, Louise said it has been several months since the last rain and some are now anxious about the coming season.
While the field day was an in-person event, it has led to the development of resources that farmers can access at the Macintyre Ag Alliance website. As well, the Alliance has a What’s App group where farmers can seek advice.
“Just this week a farmer posted that he had received rotten grain and asked the group for composting suggestions. A farmer responded that he had used it on his buffel grass to improve the soil,” Louise said.
IMAGE: Main: Land managers learn about regenerative cropping at a field day at Kioma Station.
Insert top: Hands on regenerative agriculture Kioma Station.
Insert bottom: Even slight rain did not deter land managers from attending the field day.