HMI’s first Australian Open Gate, held June 1st near Burragate in New South Wales, started off cool and wet, but with the help of a roaring fire and dynamic discussion, the 34 mostly livestock managers had a great opportunity to share ideas and experience the great hospitality of Dunblane Farm.
Dunblane Farm is Paddy and Liz Reynold’s self-described “Paradise” where they are creating the future vision of their Holistic Goal using the Holistic Management Decision Making process and planning practices. Located in a 1000mm (39 inch) rainfall area, they are creating great pastures, growing fat shiny Angus cattle, and perhaps more importantly, fulfilling their passion.
Most attendees were already familiar with Holistic Management, many also practicing permaculture, and a few driving from as far away as Melbourne (620km) and Adelaide (1300km, or 14 hours one way). After Paddy gave an introduction to their family business, he told about his Holistic Management learnings from the 2013 TAFE Holistic Management course. Prior to that Holistic Management course, taught by HMI Professional Certified Educator Brian Wehlburg, Paddy had just rotated his stock on a set frequency and pattern and had virtually run out of feed. With Holistic Planned Grazing, he increased his paddock numbers to get more recovery for his plants and better animal impact when required.
Other highlights from the day included:
- Certified Educator Brian Wehlburg covering the key concepts of managing holistically, with a focus on making farming more profitable through increasing the efficiency of the Ecosystem Processes and using the tools of Animal Impact and Grazing
- Author Gill Jacob’s entertaining talk on her experiences and discoveries thus far in her travels from the Africa Center for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe on a global trip to collect material for her new book that revolves around Holistic Management, improving soils and creating healthy food
- Local farmer and passionate soil advocate, Bruce Davison from Candelo, sharing his latest learnings on creating better soil health,
controlling weeds and using worm juice on his farm to increase productivity
- A wonderful lunch featuring tasty, succulent beef patties and sausages from one of Paddy’s grass finished steers and plenty of discussions
- A farm tour including smelling, feeling, and discussing augered soil samples from several locations; Paddy demonstrating his curved fences to follow the ridges; Paddy showing off his good-looking breeding herd and demonstrating the ease in which he could move them between paddocks; and Brian leading discussions about monitoring for recovery using Paddy’s grazing cages
The day continued into the evening with a fine dinner of Dunblane Farm corned beef, a glass or two of a good red and groups rehashing their learning and observations from the day.
Here is what participants had to say:
“Really great – fantastic information” Tobias Preston
“It was a great refresher and new learning” Kim Watkins
“Very inspiring content” Lyden Brown
“Wonderful day, great speakers, great networking, fabulous speakers” Sue Miriams
Outcomes for the day:
|Overall Satisfaction of this event (Rated good to excellent)||100%|
|Facilitator's Effectiveness (Rated good to excellent)||100%|
|Producer's Effectiveness (Rated good to excellent)||100%|
|Intent to change management practices or apply ideas learned at this event||95%|
|Increased confidence in ability to make complex decisions on your farm||91%|
|Intent to pursue biological monitoring on your land as a result of this event||86%|
|More confident in ability to improve ranch profitability with grazing animals||71%|