Holistic management | Landholders Driving Change

Holistic Management trainer Brian Wehlburg has been a guest speaker at numerous NQ Dry Tropics events held in the BBB.

Graziers enthusiastic about holistic approach to management

In August, 11 BBB graziers took part in a two-day workshop by Holistic Management Educator Brian Wehlburg to learn about a systems-thinking approach for managing resources.

The Holistic Management approach helps graziers develop and implement a whole-of-property business plan to improve economic, social and environment outcomes. By focusing on more than one variable, graziers will see improvements across all three. 

Indicators for improved ecosystem health under holistic management techniques include:

  • more ground cover;
  • increased surface water;
  • enhanced plant and wildlife diversity; and
  • eradication of problem or invasive species.

Topics covered during the workshop:

  • How Nature functions holistically; rebuilding pasture diversity; ensuring positive animal nutrition and solving environmental problems, with minimal input costs.
  • Creating a grazing plan for adequate recovery of plants, maximising grass production and keeping soil on your property.
  • Quickly and accurately measuring feed volumes to match stock to fodder. Planning for the dry season… and for drought.
  • Effective monitoring techniques to improve the country and your cash flow.

Graziers reviewed their current business practices including evaluating their processes to determine if feedback loops to strengthen decision-making were already built into their business plan.

They were encouraged to look at the big picture, holistically, at the four ecosystem processes that drive all environments – water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics. 

Training also focused on how livestock could be managed for ecosystem recovery to help to enhance grass cover and build soil. Through holistic grazing planning this means getting livestock to the right place, for the right reasons at the right time. 

This workshop was initiated through the NQ Dry Tropics’ Stomping Out Sediment project funded through the Australian Government Reef Trust Phase IV investment.

Brian Wehlburg (Inside Outside Management) gets hands-on with soil on the footpath watched by (from left): Ben Childes (Weetalaba, Collinsville), Allan and Selena O’Sullivan (Vine Creek, Belyando Crossing), Barry and Leanne O’Sullivan (Glenalpine, Bowen), and Grace Muirhead (Weetalaba, Collinsville).

Community Dynamics: Grace Muirhead and Rebecca Lathwell stand to contribute to a session aimed at understanding the links between all living things to create a sustainable, diverse and profitable environment.

Educator recognises a gathering momentum in the response from graziers

The enthusiasm is obvious as Brian Wehlburg talks about an holistic approach to farm management.

Brian Wehlburg, from Inside Outside Management said it was good to see BBB producers who have already adopted Holistic Management attending the workshop.

“They provide invaluable insights and knowledge for graziers new to the concept,” he said.

“These producers appear to be leading the charge in creating change towards positive environmental outcomes.

He said by continuing to meet to discuss and share learning, observations and experiences, they provided an example for the broader community and the grazing industry, which was critical for success in a dynamic, constantly changing environment.  

“Holistic decision-making creates the vision to connect to people’s deepest desires through their values, so every decision they make should be leading them, and their land, in that direction,” he said.

“Sound understanding of the environment and using livestock to create positive environmental outcomes supports and increases land managers’ options to achieve their vision.”

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