Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Peter and Wendy Bradshaw farmed at Murray Wells Farm about 25 km west of Tambellup for around 46 years until they sold and retired in 2022. They produced barley, oats, merino and prime lambs on an annual rainfall of 450 mm over 1,000 arable hectares. The farm was on a moderately undulating landscape with a mix of soils including sandy duplex, well-drained sand over gravel over clay, shallow sandy or loamy gravel over cemented laterite and red to brown loamy soils.Their farming philosophy was to view agriculture as an ecological enterprise that included them as part of the ecosystem, and they saw diversity – in a personal and biological sense – as fundamental to the growth and wellbeing of the farm ecosystem, enterprise and community of which they were a part.Soil biology, grazing animals and profitability underpin farm management decisions on their property. They aimed to limit the leakiness of their farming operation so that inputs stay where they were used and didn’t cause harm to the broader landscape. Creating the soil carbon ‘sponge’ was fundamental in this endeavour.Peter and Wendy developed 8 principles to guide their approach to regenerative agriculture:maintain soil cover; maintain living plants; minimise soil disturbance; encourage biodiversity; integrate animals; reduce and buffer or eliminate synthetic inputs (chemicals and fertilisers); value diversity of opinions (within shared vision and goals); seek consensus rather than compromise (where possible).They used a range of practices to achieve their goals including mixed species summer cover crops, biological stimulants and fertilisers, perennial pastures, alleys of fodder shrubs, planned holistic grazing with stock, reduced use of synthetic fertilisers and chemical sprays, and revegetation with native species.
Number of Pages
regenerative agriculture, dryland agriculture, south-west Western Australia
Bradshaw, W. (2023), Building the soil carbon sponge at Murray Wells Farm, Tambellup, Western Australia. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Perth. Article.
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