About 60 participants from the South and North Islands of New Zealand gathered at Mangarara station, Hawkes Bay for HMI’s very first international Open Gate.
They were mostly cattle and sheep graziers, but also included gardeners, activists, foresters, an alternative fertilizer salesman, and even a local council senior land management officer.
In presentations, discussions, and through on-the-land exercises, participants learned about managing grazing to improve rainfall absorption on the more than 24,000 hectares they manage in total. Participants were challenged to lengthen time between grazing to allow for full plant recovery, understand the benefits of pasture litter and diversity, monitor key factors on their land, and explore how to improve the ecosystem function of their land for greater farm performance and resilience. Some highlights of the day included:
- Host Greg Hart discussing challenges of farming in southern Hawkes Bay, and how managed grazing helped their land become more resilient
- Malcolm White sharing how Holistic Management of their hard hill country property changed their grazing practices, deepened their topsoil, and probably saved them from selling the farm.
- Dr Phil Schofield presenting evidence from John Kamp’s Mangleton property showing the shift to tall pasture and soil mineral balancing
- John King focussing on the pastoral ecosystem, and leading a bio-monitoring exercise to get participants looking at the soil surface, identifying and evaluating litter, bare soil, diversity of pasture species, maturity, and erosion
- Hosts Greg and Rachel Hart showing off their new Ecolodge overlooking Horseshoe Lake, a natural landscape feature which is becoming another enterprise to their diverse operation
Here are some of the results we collected from our post program evaluation.
|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 as a result of this event||92%|
|Intent to conduct biological monitoring as a result of this event||82%|
|Recommend this event to others||100%|
What participants had to say:
“Excellent and well worthwhile the distance traveled”
“Informative, interesting, encouraging”
“It created great opportunities for networking”
“Very well run. Lovely setting and food. Great delivery. Valuable info.”
“Thought provoking, challenging”
“It was good, engaging, fabulous hospitality & food & very informative”
“Strong observed results, some clear guidelines, some gems of wisdom!