Farming off the grid

Media release from South Gippsland Landcare Network. 

Using renewable energy to power a new grazing enterprise will be one of the main topics for discussion at a Healthy Soils Sustainable Farms field day at Cape Liptrap on Tuesday, 14 November.

Small-scale beef farmers, Jillian Staton and Bruce Whittaker will describe how they have transformed a 100 acre agistment block into an easy-to-manage and increasingly productive grazing property.

Initial improvements included subdividing larger paddocks and installing a laneway, and the construction of new, covered yards with a curved race. The real game-changer, however, was the installation of a solar-powered reticulation system that has enabled the couple to rotationally graze the entire property all year round.

Already, the couple are noticing marked improvements in pasture composition and cover, consistent with the goals put forward in the nutrient management plan prepared by Lisa Warne as part of the Healthy Soils Sustainable Farms program.

Bruce will describe the process he went through in choosing the best system to feed water troughs around the farm, and some of the challenges encountered along the way.

Bruce and Jillian will also discuss the factors that led them to choose to go completely off-grid when building their home on the property. Electrician Wayne Smith will talk about the off-grid system that he helped design and install, which includes 10kw of solar panels, a solar-powered hot water system, LPG for cooking, and provision in the future for a back-up generator and/or wind turbine.

The Healthy Soils Sustainable Farms project is supported by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. The Cape Liptrap field day, which is being hosted by the South Gippsland Landcare Network, will start at 10.30am. Morning tea will be provided but please BYO lunch and chair.

To RSVP and get directions to the property, please contact Jenny O’Sullivan on 0419 153 377 or sgln@landcare.net.