Aiming to continually improve the health of our land
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Here at Ella Matta Pastoral on Kangaroo Island we continuously aim to improve not only productivity, but the condition of the land and its environment. We hope to leave our place in the best possible state for future generations.
This involves a wide rage of management practices. Some of these include:
Fencing off native vegetation (Landcare)
Re-planting thousands of native trees (Landcare)
Establishing shelter-belts to protect sheep from bad weather
Pasture and soil improvements (e.g. perennial & Kikuyu grasses)
Minimising water and wind erosion
Prevention of dry-land/soil salinity
Proper animal health, quarantine and welfare practices
Providing areas/protection for native wildlife
Assisting with the local Koala management program
Watercourse quality testing for excess nutrients/salinity
Grazing management through small paddock rotation
Feral plant and animal control (pigs, cats etc)
As a whole we strive to find the perfect balance between farming, lifestyle, family and the environment.
The below picture slideshow show some of the re-vegetated areas at Ella Matta that have been fenced-off from livestock, and re-planted where necessary. This has helped control erosion and salinity, provided shelter for livestock, and helped protect and re-establish native vegetation and ecosystems. Over the last 5+ years we have planted on average 2,000 native trees and shrubs a year. We have been doing these Landcare projects for the last 30+ years.
Red Tail Glossy Black Cockatoos
We were very excited when our farmhand Larry heard & saw some Red Tailed Glossy Black Cockatoos in a section of our farm, where years earlier Aphid had planted Sheoak trees (under direction of the scientists, the Garnett's, who came to Kangaroo Island to save this rare bird). They were certain that these birds would eventually come to our area to feed if their sole food source sheoaks were planted. As part of our farms extensive landcare program that has been ongoing for many years, Aphid planted these trees in 1997 hoping that one day these beautiful birds would return. In January 2018 to see them for the first time feeding off these same trees was, as you can imagine, pretty damn cool!
While cropping operators may see this as crazy, we have planted almost a third of our farm (predominately hilly and traditionally poorer country) into Kikuyu grass. This has allowed us to prevent any damage to our soils (erosion) whilst also increasing our stocking rate. It has stopped our dams from silting and has provided a green pick throughout the summer that would otherwise not exist.
To left is a video explaining the benefits of Kikuyu on Kangaroo Island sheep properties, it features Andrew Heinrich: