Revegetation spotlight at AgTastic conference

Farmers from the Barossa and surrounding districts have seen for themselves the benefits of revegetation at the 2016 AgTastic conference.

The Barossa Improved Grazing Group (BIGG) teamed up with Barossa Young People in Ag to host the third annual AgTastic conference last Thursday at Springton, with the theme Managing your Natural Resources.

Sponsored by Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin and the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Regional Landcare Facilitator, participants at AgTastic learnt about revegetation benefits, climate change, farm management software and value-adding to farm products.

BIGG technical facilitator Georgie Keynes took participants to visit a watercourse revegetation site to demonstrate the benefits to landholders.

“We looked at two sites at the conference, one that was revegetated a number of years ago, and one that BIGG is revegetating at the moment,” she said.

“In both cases we observed the significant improvement in bank stabilisation from fencing off a watercourse, which leads to reduced soil erosion and salinity, improving water quality.”

Another key benefit of revegetation is the resulting increase in biodiversity.

Native insects and birds can assist farmers through pollination of crops and by acting as natural predators to crop and pasture pests.

“A third benefit is the shelter that trees provide for livestock once the trees have grown enough to allow stock back in. Especially during lambing and extreme heat, providing shelter for livestock can improve livestock survival rates,” Georgie said.

At a visit to Hutton Vale farm, owners Jan and John Angus explained that their business decided to become involved in Trees for Life’s Paddock Tree Project for many of the same reasons, including biodiversity and shelter, as well as retaining the striking features of old gums in the Even Valley landscape.