Episode 165. The Highclere Regenerative Smallholding: Your host is interviewed by Permaculture Plus Podcast

This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 22nd of April 2019.

Jon Moore reporting!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

Part One

R: Hello listeners and welcome to episode eight of Permaculture Plus, where we shine the light on and bring the ethics and principles of permaculture into everyday life. I’m Rich Bowden, your co-host, here in the Central West studios of NSW and this week I talk exclusively to co-host Jon Moore about the regenerative agriculture methods he’s applying on his new farm at Highclere, in North Western Tasmania. Hello Jon, welcome to the show!

J: Hello Young Rich from sunny Highclere, we appear to be in the depths of an Indian Summer or do we just call this summer now? Who’s to know?

R: Now usually we do this show two Australian states, some 1,200 ks apart through the magic of Cast software, but we did recently catch up when Carol, my wife, and I finally got to see your fantastic farm and were privileged to stay as guests. The Highclere farm is nestled in the stunning high country of the North West of Tassie, not far from the state’s iconic Cradle Mountain. As we were driving through the region Jon, we noticed the land is a great deal greener than it is in the drought-stricken Central West but I wonder, are there any other local farmers using regen ag or permaculture techniques?

J: There’s some permaculture work going on and possibly some regenerative grazing. Huge numbers of cattle in small paddocks.. etc

R: We usually wrap each episode of Permaculture Plus around a permaculture ethic or principle and today I’d like to ask you what the principle of obtaining a yield means to you as a farmer and how to plan to use this principle as guidance as your regen farm develops.

J: Nurturing the soil, proceeding slowly and trying to understand the carrying capacity of the land. Which appears to be substantial.

R: As you were showing me around the property you were describing how you’ll use Fukoaka’s seed ball methods to grow vegetables. This I know is a favourite technique of yours. Can you tell us how it works and what you aim to achieve?

J: Dry soil, seeds and little water sprayer. Mixed together and rounded off through agitation. 


R: And a quick word about the Polish and hybrid chooks. Why did you choose them and how do they fit into the grand design?

R: Back after the break when we’ll talk more about Jon’s brilliantly-named piglets.

Part Two

R: And those last sounds you heard were the irascible Jake and Elwood, the showpiece (at the moment) of the Highclere farm. Jon a bit of background please on the Piggy Blues Brothers and how they fit into your produce no waste ethos.

J: Ahh Pigs:

  • First time pig keeper, long time fan
  • They are renovating the pasture
  • Removing blackberry roots
  • Manuring
  • And bacon

R: And when you showed me around the property, it was very noticeable (after you pointed it out) that Jake and Elwood really do make a difference to the landscape.

J: But slowly. We are hastening slowly. I miss calculated and they are in 620 sq meters and not 500. My paces are getting longer as I age. We have a metal tape measure now. So plans are afoot.

R: And I understand you’re now planning for dairy sheep?

J: With the metal tape measure…

  • Land size
  • 20 fields
  • 1 week, 4 months
  • 2 weeks 8 months
  • Sufficient feed for four or five ewes
    • Hand feeding
    • Specialised cropping
      • Pea straw
      • Barley/Fukuoka

R: Thanks for your farming insights today Jon. Final question: permaculture and regen methods would you suggest for farmers just starting out in the industry? What would work best to start?

J: Read, look, listen to the soil, hasten slowly, slowly, slowly, do not over graze. Hold your nerve as all the local slash. 

R: What do you mean by that?

J: soil organic matter, old methods, easy to to be pulled into the way others are doing things. Recreational ploughing. The soil will tell you what it needs

R: And that’s it for episode eight. Thanks for joining us, we’ll have close updates on Jon and Annie’s Highclere farm. You can find all the details over at Jon’s Highclere blog (and coming podcast) in the show notes. So bye for now.

J: Bye

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