Daniel Knee

Daniel Knee at the Franklin River


For Toora Dairy Farmer, Dan Knee, good environmental management is in his blood. Dan has recently taken over the family property full time from his parents, who were environmental pioneers in the area. His parents began planting trees with Landcare twenty years ago and have excluded stock and planted out nearly the entire 7km of Franklin river frontage on the property.

But Dan has not rested on their laurels and together with his wife Cindy, has begun to expand and improve on the productivity and sustainability on their current 375 milking cows on 280 hectares. Their farm is situated in the hilly upper reaches of the Corner Inlet Catchment. Corner Inlet is one of the most unique natural ecosystems in Australia and a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention.

Currently however, the health of Corner Inlet ecosystem is threatened by increased sediment and nutrients levels likely from onshore activities such as farming, forestry and urban development. Seagrass, an important habitat for fish, is declining likely due to nutrient and sediment runoff.

Over the past twenty years, both generations of the Knees have undertaken a massive amount of work to keep nutrients and sediment (whether it be in the form of fertiliser, soil or effluent) on-farm and out of Corner Inlet.

Stock has been excluded from waterways, drainage lines and gullies. Extensive willow removal has been completed and a steady program of replacement plantings using thousands of indigenous plants has been accomplished. Nearly all of the 7km of Franklin River frontage has been fenced from stock and planted out, often with the assistance of Landcare or the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority. Other environmental friendly actions have included reticulating water throughout the farm, siting laneways to avoid run-off, maximizing ground cover to reduce soil loss and following best management practices when applying fertiliser.

Today, Dan and Cindy are stepping up the pace and implementing more actions that will improve the health of the waterways and Corner Inlet. They are GippsDairy Focus Farmers and through this program have had the opportunity to open their business up to scrutiny and input from other dairy farmers and leading consultants in the area. Dan and Cindy are planning to develop their new properties, with tracks and pasture improvement.

Dan and Cindy are inspiring examples of young, sustainable farmers, protecting Corner Inlet through best practice grazing, nutrient, effluent and water management on their property. Dan was one of five young Landcarer recipients showcased as part of the 2015 Landcare in West Gippsland Green Carpet event.

To find out more about how you can undertake your own works on your property visit our Landcare page.

This catchment is supported by the Corner Inlet Connections program and is funded by the Australian Government to address the critical threats impacting the site.

The Franklin River running through the Knees property
The view from Daniel Knees property
Daniel Knee
Daniel Knee

To learn more about Daniel Knee, watch this video from a recent field day.

Corner Inlet fishermen and farmers create a connection between the Primary Industries of the Corner Inlet Catchment.

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