Merino Life – a few notes from Michael Taylor
Nature is made up of a complex web of cycles. Agriculture is intrinsically entwined in nature. Farms rely upon the natural cycles of pollination and breeding. Agriculture has also changed nature dramatically over the centuries. The Taylor family recognise the big impact they’ve had on the natural ecosystems on their farm since 1840. They are now changing their farm activities to better work with nature rather than against it. Promotion of biodiversity and natural regeneration support the ecosystem services that keep the farm healthy and productive.
Tree reestablishment has been one of the most significant driving goals for the Taylors with over 250,000 trees planted on the farm. One of the main reasons has been the benefits to their sheep and wool enterprise. Not only does it help the ecosystems they need for healthy pastures and soil but simply the shelter that trees provide the animals became an obvious requirement throughout the weather extremes.
Since embarking on this regenerative journey the ensuing benefits and positive changes on the farm have amazed beyond what was ever imagined. The bird life in the skies now is as exciting as the insect and microbial life that extends deep beneath the ground. Above all the sheep and wool health has profited. Bright white and strong wool needs nourishing to grow along with new lambs born each year.
The journey continues though as the Taylors strive to further enrich the biodiverse ecosystem that supports the sheep and wool business. Vegetation maintenance and succession are now part and parcel in the daily working life where a reduced reliance on chemicals and annual species has been replaced by time controlled grazing rotations and a bigger mix of perennial native pastures.
New England Peppermint (Eucalyptus nova anglica)
The light blue-green young leaves are synonymous with The New England tablelands of Northern NSW. This Eucalypt forms the basis for the dominant native woodlands in the valleys and floodplains of this region. The grasslands that are sheltered beneath these trees were one of the significant attractions for sheep graziers first visiting this area in the 1830’s. On our farm we encourage natural regeneration through managed grazing to ensure the woodlands are sustained.
Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)
This is a small insect loving bird that requires small shrubs or tall grass such as the reeds along our creek for shelter. It may be common but it’s a good indicator of a healthy farm ecosystem that will support these small busy little birds. The female is shades of brown and the male sports a bright blue and black pattern.
Silver Wattle (Accacia dealbata)
Despite their short lifespan these small leguminous Silver Wattles are important as a pioneer species and form a great establishment habitat for other flora and fauna. Their hard seeds often germinate after fire or they grow from root suckers when disturbed. The Silver Wattles also have brilliant yellow blooms that