The Full Story
We East Coast farmers are the first to acknowledge the fragility of our soil.
Our topsoil is our principal 'natural capital' of our business, and its erosion and loss represents a huge reduction in the productive potential of our farms.
Our soils need more than just pasture to hold them in place - however forestry can cause problems:
- Difficult to manage long term
- Limited profits
- Difficulty of re-establishing pasture
- Tree felling leading to debris and blocked waterways
We believe in the potential of shrubby vegetation as both a soil stabiliser and stock feed- in particular Tagasaste.
Tagasaste is suitable for both dry shady and sunny slopes and provides shade and shelter, whilst reducing erosion and nutrient loss. It does this by improving soil integrity and structure by having deeper, more extensive roots than typical grass pastures. Tagasaste is a hardy nitrogen fixer with high protein foliage suitable for sheep and cattle, and thrives on steep, erosion-prone, north-facing hill country.
What We Will Do
As a farmer-led project team, we will share our practical experience on how to establish and manage Tagasaste, and collect findings based on measurements of existing standards (e.g Tagasaste Handbook, Field Days and Beef + Lamb Podcasts).
With our knowledge about the plant's nutritional value, as well as establishing and managing it ourselves - we will build upon this, and understand its role within practical animal production on hill country.
We aim to share our journey with like-minded farmers, and pave the way to sustainable farming in New Zealand hill country.