Caleb Berry

Caleb Berry

Meet a farmer who is looking after the Powlett catchment

Caleb Berry and his wife Shiona have been farming on their Glen Alvie dairy farm on the Bass Coast of Victoria for around a decade. Together with their young family, they have built their farm from being a relatively small dairy property, to a highly productive enterprise milking up to 750 cows.

Their farm is located in the upper reaches of the Powlett River catchment, which feeds into the nationally important Powlett River estuary. The estuary has significant saltmarsh and wetland communities. Habitat is also provided for many rare and endangered animal species including the orange bellied parrot.

In order to reduce sediment and nutrient run-off into the local catchment, Caleb has undertaken considerable revegetation works on the dairy farm. His main focus has been on waterways and susceptible areas such as gullies and landslips. Sediment and nutrients that flow from the farm and enter the local catchment can negatively impact on the health of the waterways. These revegetation works have also benefited the farm. They have restricted stock from entering waterways and dangerous areas, increased the amount of shade and shelter available to stock and kept valuable nutrients on farm.

With the help and guidance from the local Bass Coast Landcare Network, Caleb has included indigenous species in much of the revegetation, creating biolinks for native species across his farm. Caleb has used a range of revegetation methods including tubestock and direct seeding.

Caleb says Landcare is a great opportunity for farmers.

“It is a great chance to return some of our farmland that isn’t as productive as it could be, back to native vegetation,” he said.

On farm sustainability has not just stopped with planting trees. Caleb has dramatically reduced his water usage by installing a reuse water system. This enables the use of filtered effluent water to wash down the dairy yards after milking. He has also reduced the farm’s electricity consumption by installing solar panels on his farm sheds.

Caleb’s innovation includes other aspects of his farm. In order to maximise production and reduce methane emissions from the cattle, he is developing a feeding regime for the dairy cows to provide them with a balanced diet. He is also trialling different crops with the aim of reducing the need for buying in external fodder.

Caleb 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.