Farms with a Future: Biodynamics in Berridale : SCPA Good News : SCPA South East Producers

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Farms with a Future: Biodynamics in Berridale

The SCPA ‘Farms with a Future’ Ground Work Day at the Berridale property of Melinda Taylor and Jamie Atherton was an ‘eye opener’ for those of us from the coast who luxuriate in deep soils and tall grasses. While we can watch kikuyu reach above our boots in a week, Jamie and Melinda are thrilled if their high altitude mosses and sedges gain millimetres in a month.

The steep Berridale hillsides have patches of bare rocky ground where the soil has been lost through erosion after rain. ‘The water is very fast flowing and there’s very little penetration.’

Rocky ground that has been stripped of soil and ground cover


Jamie and Melinda use Biodynamic Soil Activator to enhance the breakdown of organic matter and attract beneficial fungi, bacteria and earthworms. The activator is applied uphill of the bare patches and as it is moved down hill it helps to create improved grass cover.

Grasses beginning to appear on bare ground


and further development of grasses


Woody weeds (such as the dogwood in the first photo) are short-lived pioneer species which, when they die, provide nutrients and shelter to further enhance the growth of grasses and other small shrubs.

Young plants benefiting from the help of the pioneers species

Soil is also created in these protected spots.

On the left is a sample of the soil in the grassed area to the left, and on the right is a sample of the soil in the area aided by the fallen dogwood.


Soil creation is key. Jamie demonstrated the mixing of the Biodynamic Soil Activator in rainwater, and Melinda demonstrates the ‘flicking’ of the mixture onto the ground with a large paint brush.

Jamie and participants preparing the Biodynamic Soil Activator


Melinda demonstrating the flicking action


Other activities included the planting of lavender and other species along previously ripped lines. The lavender will be harvested for essential oils. This crop appealed to Melinda and Jamie as lavender is not eaten by kangaroos!

Planting out along rip line.


Thanks to Melinda Taylor and Jamie Atherton, the participants, the Farms with a Future Team (David Newell, Penny Kothe & Carolyn Wells), the Caterer (Linda Sang in Cobargo) and South East LLS for a great day

Farms with a Future is part of the $125 million of National Landcare Programme investment that Local Land Services is delivering to boost farm gate productivity and improve environmental health across NSW.



Submitted by : Carolyn
10th May 2017