Holistic approach setting Linnburn to regenerate its landscape


Holistic Management, landscape

At Linnburn Station in 2014, we turned our back on the traditional soil management practices advocated by synthetic fertilizer and pesticide companies.

We believe in using a holistic management system that has been working for millions of years focused on soil biology, minimum soil disturbance and diverse plant species that, through photosynthesis, enable the soil to be healthy and improve its nutrient and water holding capacity, allowing plants, animals, the environment & people to be healthy.

Right now, we’re on an amazing journey to see what works and what doesn’t. We wish to openly share our experiences and our results with all those prepared to listen.

It is our belief that soil health is a priority -we need to use the diversity of cover crops/ companion planting, zero till & high intensity grazing instead of synthetic fertiliser, fungicides, pesticides and set stocking to increase soil organic matter, improve soil health & stock health

We believe that Healthy Soil = Healthy Animals = Healthy People.

Nature has been at play for billions of years refining how the sun and atmosphere interact with plants and soil biology. In just one teaspoon of soil there is more life than there are people on the planet.

In recent times, humans have meddled with this beautifully-evolved lifecycle. We’ve tilled and suppressed our environments into monocultures; killing soil biology and depleting soil carbon in the pursuit of a version of growing that perfectly suits those who sell us their supposed performance enhancing drugs. We’ve lost sight of how soil biology interacts with plants.

We’ve replaced the answers that nature created with synthetic substances that compromise everything we are all striving to achieve. We’ve been drawn into a cycle of spray-turn-fertilise-plant-spray that has decreased nature’s cleansing agent (carbon) in our soils, thrown Nature’s carefully worked balances and opened the door to greater climate change and increasing susceptibility to cancers.

Regenerative Agriculture

At Linnburn Station in 2014 we called time on these practices. We’ve chosen instead to take a regenerative approach that utilises soil biology and plant diversity. Tilling and synthetic fertiliser are out. Spraying is disappearing. We’re letting our pastures grow to levels traditional food producers would term crazy. We’re using cover crops and biological feeders. We’re rotating our land use and utilising short term intensive rotational grazing. We’re letting our animals pick and choose what they want to eat.

We’re finding that if we don’t disturb the soil and use specific plant species (including native species) to replicate what others try to with chemicals and machines, our soils are healthier and our animals are happier. We’re seeing that when we measure soil health using criteria such as fungi, bacteria, cover, weeds, smell, plant colouring and stock condition that our viewpoint on the state of our land has changed. And when we create an environment where life is encouraged, there are huge paybacks in terms of cost, soil water retention, soil nutrient availability, soil and animal health.

Our mission now is to inspire people to see regenerative agriculture as an approach that focuses on building soil carbon and has the ability to address challenges facing humanity. We want to learn what works and what doesn’t. We want to change how New Zealanders perceive agriculture so that they learn that meat and animals are a crucial component in the lifecycle that creates soil & water health. We are on an amazing journey, constantly refining, changing, making mistakes, celebrating our successes and recording our results as we go. And we want to openly share our experiences and our results with all those prepared to listen.

As part of this journey we are writing a paper on our leanings on soil health. If you would like to receive this paper please get in contact with us.

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