Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Rod and Bridie O’Bree’s farm is 25 km east of Geraldton in the Northern Agricultural Region of Western Australia. The long-term rainfall average is 486 mm although that has dropped to 354 mm over the last 30 years. They run a 150 head beef cattle herd, fatten 500-700 lambs annually and have a 40-60 head horse stud on the farm. They purchased the farm early in 2008 after one of the worst droughts in the area. There was little to no vegetation, brown or green, across the farm and all of the water from a 25 mm rain event ran off the farm through the creeklines, taking valuable soil with it. The O’Bree’s felt they could do better and set about learning and trialling how to manage the farm sustainably. They aimed to hold as much water on the farm as possible using the broad natural sequence farming approach. This included earthworks to hold water up and then spread it out across paddocks. They also established perennial pastures to use the water while allowing a wide diversity of annual plants to establish in the paddocks. Water now moves much more slowly through the farm, with little or no water leaving the property in creeklines. Groundcover has increased and erosion has significantly reduced. Pastures are much more diverse and this keeps stock healthy. Creeklines have naturally regenerated with native species. Grazing capacity has increased.
Number of Pages
natural sequence farming, dryland agriculture, south-west Western Australia
Bowyer, J, and O'Bree, R. (2021), Rehydrating the landscape at Yanget, Geraldton, Western Australia. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Perth. Article.
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