Buying ex-Grazing Land?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by fourth, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. fourth

    fourth Junior Member

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    I'm in the position of being able to purchase a small acreage, perhaps 8-15 in total. The land however is completely cleared, with handful of trees remaining. It's hilly in nature. I've attached a picture. Rainfall is 35 inches a year. I have not tested the soil yet, but this is the lower hunter, so I know other properties a few KM away are red clay, and relatively rich in minerals as I found some recently dug up.

    Since I have not yet purchased (and would not have a chance to do a PDC before a potential sale) I was wondering if the members here would like to throw around some thoughts and idea's on the property. Either than or feel free to point me at a link with giant amounts of information to wade through (I'm pretty good at that, being in IT). I'm finding the permi world difficult to navigate right now due to the large amount of scattered information and very parallel techniques.

    Before I start with the solution, perhaps I should state my goal! More than enough food to feed 4 whilst having highly varied diet. I'm planning on a lot of species, probably 30-60 somewhere. We will probably have poultry later on, and would consider some kind of walking mowers Alpaccas and Dexters (mini cows) seem to be the leading contenders if required. Food from trees is a priority as one day I'll get too old to be digging about (but I hope not!)

    My basic backyard gardener (and probably non permi agreeable!) thoughts are:

    -Water run off is probably stripping the topsoil. So, slowing the water down is a priority.
    -I've watched a few videos about use of swales, which seems like a decent application in this situation.
    -Building up organic matter. I'll admit, I have the cash to hot start this by trucking in cow\chook\manure\lucere, etc if needed. I'm thinking about how much has been removed from this soil and how to put it back..
    -Planting out trees for privacy shade and food. I'll also need firewood one day, though I'm not sure about firewood species yet.

    I've read a reasonable amount about food forests, but think that a fair amount of thought will need to be given before purchasing the rootstock.

    I'm hoping that with careful planning the semi barren nature of the land will not slow down the plant growth rates too much as I want to be at a self sufficient level within a few years at most (with less species on the table early on but for calories at least.)

    I'm imagining the need for grains, vege and some meat, mostly from poultry, perhaps from goats.

    Love to hear your thoughts guys!
     

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  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Hi fourth, and welcome to the forum.

    Your vision and approach sound wonderful, and from the little bit you've shared about the land it sounds really good. I'd add that it's important to have a connection with the land - do you feel drawn to the place, or the general area? How do you feel in yourself when you are there? Does your energy lift or drop?

    If you have the resources (time, money, access to knowledge) I don't see why you can't create a beautiful sustainable garden and property quickly. Are you planning on living there? Building? Is there water apart from the rain?

    In addition to your backyard gardener thoughts, I'd suggest reading up on soil microbes and how to support and improve them. Along the lines of you want to farm good soil and everything else will follow.
     
  3. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day fourth

    Welcome to the PRI Forum.

    Some points you may wish to ponder before you sign on the dotted line...

    1) Does the land have a clear title?

    2) Will you need planning approval to undertake what is is that you plan to do?

    3) What is the likelihood that the region will be open cut mined for coal?

    4) How far from the nearest service centre (bread, milk, post office, school, hospital, bank, etc.)?

    NSW Land Titles

    Do I need planning approval (example: Berrigan Shire NSW)?

    Lower Hunter Regional Strategy

    Lower Hunter Coal Mine Map

    Buying and Selling Property in NSW

    ABC Landline - 'Tricks and traps in buying bush blocks'

    For more information, do a search (top right hand corner) on this forum for "buying land planning".

    Cheerio, Markos.
     
  4. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Welcome to the forum fourth - nice to see a neighbour getting started.
    One aspect of you entry intrigued me and that was that you had cash for inputs but no chance to do a PDC before purchase. Doing the course is important as you can be on the site and see thing others can not.
    Our next PDC was due to start this weekend but has been cancelled due to lack of numbers enrolled. We have seen several people study here after buying their land to find that a type one error has been committed due to the lack of knowledge on what to start with in design.
    Good luck with your venture.
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    One type of error I know that is vital is the orientation of the block. I think you want it east facing. If its west facing you could problems with sun. But from the pic it doesn't look like a problem.

    Water run off won't strip the topsoil if its vegetated which it seems to be. If there is erosion then you have a problem.

    Have you got a good water source?

    I'm not much of an expert on buying land but these are a few thoughts. I guess if someone was living and farming the land before it is probably ok. Find out about the history of the place. All those cows - was it cows? was probably fertilising the land and if its not rocky, it is probably quite good. But that's a guess.

    When you start growing things on your place, start with the vege patch and get poultry asap. Poultry are excellent and easy to take care of. Libraries have good books on all your need to know about anything if you don't want to buy them. I find for me the best way is to jsut start something and fine tune as i go along. But leave the big design ideas til a bit later on and you understand your land better. I find just being out and about in my relatively small acreage (1 hectare) things become obvious as I go along. If you are out and about on your place, this will happen with you too so don't try to figure it all out as soon as you arrive.

    Maybe get a book about buying rural property
    A book about permaculture I guess you can't go past Bill MOllisons but Rosemary Morrow's is popular of for smaller operators like me though I still haven't gone into it yet.
    A book about composting
    A book about poultry.
    What's that book about mandala gardening that i used which talks about using chickens as well. Linda Woodrow i think permaculture for the home or something. Good for your vegetable garden.

    I don't think you should rush out and buy all your fruit tree stock immediately. When i started not long ago now, that was the thing that i thought was urgent. I think its less urgent now. You don't have to achieve everything at once.

    animals are probably the most labour intensive part of such a project. I love having my ducks and chickens around but someone has to be there every day for them whereas I don't for the plants. GEt the big issues sorted first. Get a checklist together of important points about the land. Find out its disadvantages, don't just assume them. Ask the owners lots of questions. Ask other people in teh district.

    Did you ever see that story on Australian story about a guy who raised horses on fairly dry land and was doing landworks to slow down teh water run off. It seems to me that swales and such are not about preventing erosion but about holding the water as long as possible.

    A block that is good for permaculture is good for farming. I don't htink the needs should be particularly different. Distribution of rainfall should be an important factor.

    Don't spend your money shipping in truckloads of soil improvers in a hurry. Get your poultry and make it yourself. Plant some manure crops and legumes and make your own materials for composting and organic material. It will be much cheaper and doesn't take long in the scheme of things.

    The land does not look barren to me. It just has no trees. It may not be anywhere near as bad as you think. Figure out to do a soil analysis. And do soil testing. I think you might be just a bit overwhelmed by all you have been reading but honestly once you start, things fall into place. I"ve only just been through this.

    For you first things first, just make sure your land is ok. get advice locally and from books about how to buy rural land as mentioned. Worry about all the rest of it after. Since you know what you want to do on it.

    Certainly you've got heaps there to grow enough to feed four people.

    Sorry for going on like i know everything. And going on in general.
     
  6. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Well Typed Sunny,couldnt of said that much better myself lol:handshake:

    Tezza
     
  7. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Its reassuring to be congratulated rather than contradicted (I don't mind being corrected) but thanks.
     
  8. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Enjoy it...lolol

    Tezza
     
  9. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Hey.. Is that bloke you on about Peter Andrews? Yes hes a legend in the ground saving brigade.

    Its a shame for him,his beliefs have cost him his marrage,house,his horses and probly allmost his sanity..

    Seams the clever or smarter you are,the more crap you attract sometimes...

    Good on him He is a real pioneer,and he inspires a lot of permies and other people around the world with his his ideas,

    You know your on a winner,when the experts heap buckets of shit on you from all levels....

    the bloke is a genius...

    Tezza
     
  10. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Your first step should be to hire a consultant with a proven track record the cost of having a trained eye cast over the land and a real soil assay is worth every cent,get a consultancy and work with him.The biggest mistake is not having good advice on the ground.
    Best of Luck Fernando.
     
  11. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    G'day fourth,
    Pasture cropping was initiated over 15 years ago and since that time Colin Seis, on his Winona property, Gulgong, has spent much of his time perfecting this technique and now also conducts workshops educating other landholders on the methodology. This development of the pasture cropping system over the years has led many different types of winter and summer growing crops being grown without destroying the perennial pasture base.
    https://www.winona.net.au/

    Polyface Farms, https://www.polyfacefarms.com/default.aspx , represents America’s premier non-industrial food production oasis. Believing that the Creator’s design is still the best pattern for the biological world, the Salatin family invites like-minded folks to join in the farm’s mission: to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world. He will be returning to Australia and doing talks in Sydney https://milkwoodpermaculture.com.au/courses/details/22-salatin-talks-sydney

    Como andas su espanol? COAS es un consejo de expertos que trabaja por el bienestar de la sociedad, promoviendo el equilibrio entre el consumo y la regeneración de los recursos naturales. https://www.coas.com.mx/cms/

    https://www.taranakifarm.com/blog/?cat=16 is a great example of Darren Doherty's work in farm forestry design with the use of Keyline principles.
    These guys have a few good tips as well... https://www.globallandrepair.com.au/

    HMI provides, promotes and teaches holistic land management, which works in concert with natural processes. Holistic Management has been proven effective in restoring damaged grasslands to health and sustainability, and at increasing the productivity and profitability of ranches and farms.
    https://holisticmanagement.org/

    Compost, compost, compost...
    https://www.trustnature.com.au/compost

    Be the change!
     
  12. fourth

    fourth Junior Member

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    WOW, thanks guys. So many things to respond to:


    "1) Does the land have a clear title?"

    Yes. I have my solicitor reviewing the contract now.

    "2) Will you need planning approval to undertake what is is that you plan to do?"

    No. There are limitations on the land, such as no dwelling rights. This is not a problem as I do not intend to live there. Maybe 20-30 years down the track... unless something really unusual happens... like a peak oil systemic collapse. In that case, the council regulations are no longer a problem!

    "3) What is the likelihood that the region will be open cut mined for coal?"

    I'll investigate. There IS an abandoned mine nearby. It was not open cut, and hopefully is not the low handing fruit as around singleton.

    "4) How far from the nearest service centre (bread, milk, post office, school, hospital, bank, etc.)?"

    10 minutes by car, so I'll assume 30 minutes by MTB. Again, I don't intend to live there any time soon. (I live within walking distance to the Sydney CBD. on about 200sqm of land, about 30sqm of that is heavily cropped.)

    " Building? Is there water apart from the rain?"

    Yes, I can build a number of 'Farm' buildings. I have read the legislation that governs the construction. There are only a few rules I need to adhere to in order to classify as a 'farm' building. In doing so I'm no longer under council codes, but under state building codes (workcover) which is far easier to deal with.

    There is a dam filled with what appears to be duckweed from the satellite picture (I'm going there tomorrow). I measured the area with a google maps polygon tool and when the image was taken the dame was about 350sqm. I have spent a whole night looking over terrain maps and following surrounding property water flows. The property has two cry creek beads, one of which seems to get a decent flow as it has sharp edges and appears deep. ON this property a secondary water source from the dam overflow also joins with the larger dry creekbed.

    I saw this combinations of water sources as one of the better ones I had seen in the area. I seem to have loads of options or swales and in fact probably gabions,. I'll just need to get some shade going early on so that I can keep the water from evaporating. Lots to learn here.

    " How do you feel in yourself when you are there? Does your energy lift or drop?"

    Splendid question. We looked at a property in Paynes crossing and I had a magnificent feeling. it was remote, 4wd accessible only. So far all of the grazing land I looked at felt ... barren. I find that I don't relate well to flat land. I need hills... though... I don't want my kids rolling down a 65deg incline! LOL. As a city person you might think I had lost my mojo... but something as simple at the Jamie Oliver 'home' series changed everything. Then my wife's last birthday present was a box of seedlings, and manure and a copy of Stephany Alexanders Kitchen Garden Companion.

    Since then I like nothing better than having dirty hands. I write this with wet shoulders from being outside in the rain planting collard and celeriac.

    "One aspect of you entry intrigued me and that was that you had cash for inputs but no chance to do a PDC before purchase"

    I mean no offence by this. . I'm a peak oil doomer. I have followed the problem since 2005, and have decided it's time I had a plan b. If I'm wrong, no big deal... I'll lover every minute of it. But getting some things kicked of soon is a priority. In particular, fruit and nut trees as they take a few years to bear. My guess based on the number I'm seeing and the state of affairs in the financial world tell me we have 3-9 years before the world starts unravelling.

    Besides all this, I have for years had a hole inside me. It sounds weird but, I've felt like a character living in the matrix. Like the whole world was sort of hollow.

    " Poultry are excellent and easy to take care of."

    This is a weekender. Is this even possible? I can build a giant chook run, but still... From what I read, chooks will glut themselves for a few days then starve until Friday night! I might leave this for a while. Chook poo is $50 a tonne, if I need some (based on soil analysis) then I'll just truck it in in the beginning. I imagine that even a decent composting rotation will take me a minimum of a year to work out (in particular the volume)

    Again, thank you all. I tended to only answer the questions from below. I failed in the initial post to explain everything I already knew, but yes, I already have the website of the department of agriculture for soil analysis. I have the owners phone number.. he has owned it for a few decades.

    I might take a spade out there tomorrow and dig a hole LOL.

    Right now I'm trying not to get carried away with things like terra preta, 'natural farming', etc. I have been doing quite a lot of research in to things like green manure and looking at things like N yields, composted organic mass per sqm and generally trying to work out how best to plump it up.

    After I have visited the site I'll come back with some of my thoughts (and pictures) on the swale \ gabion lines I've come up with the trap the water on on site.

    My initial question BTW, was mostly looking for things that would cause me to hesitate in the purchase. The coal \ sydney gas things has been on my mind for a while. In particular since if we do start declining oil production, you can imagine that coal to oil technology will be funded. I really do appreciate your advice and consideration.

    BTW, I have attached a map of the land from above, so you can see the water course that temporarily flows through the area.
     

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  13. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day again, fourth

    So glad that you have got the legals sorted. I have seen so many people fall over before they have even got to the first hurdle. Painful to watch.

    You can learn a lot from digging a hole (or in the case of a full site analysis - many holes). Remember the first Principle: Observe and Interact. Take your swag too... A lot can be learned from simply observing.

    Re soil tests - APAL, yet to fault them:

    APAL

    My initial thoughts re: the coal/gas scenario are that anything in that area is possible. The new coal-to-gas technological procedures (fracking) and the risk to ecological and social systems as a result are a frightening read. There is a lot of peer reviewed literature around on this topic. Check it out, when you get the chance (see, for example):

    DEA - Fracking for coal gas is a health hazard

    The aerial image you provided (of which I presume is orientated to the north?) shows some great features - slope, natural water course, a few trees, good access, etc. Off to a good start.

    You should really try to get yourself along to a PDC. Failing that, and you still want to make a start, make sure you undertake a contour survey first.

    Remember, it's a process. Take small steps (Principle 9: Use Small and Slow Solutions), and don't try and bite off more than you can chew (just yet ;)).

    Most of all, enjoy the journey, Markos.
     
  14. Solaris

    Solaris Junior Member

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    I am all for making a chicken coop asap, and making it movable, so the chickens can prepare the ground for a slowly enlargening vege garden. In the photo there seems to be a natural depression which looks a good spot for a small pond.

    ERIC are using ORMUS made from seawater with good results in Oz...is there a seacrop or kelp source you can use. Mushrooms are big for bringing vitality back to the land and can provide a good income...truffles, chaga, reishi, shiitake etc...

    ERIC***
    https://eric.com.au/html/news.php —Mr Rob Gourlay and Dr Brian Tunstall - Global Implications of Soil Organic Matter by Environmental Research & Information Consortium (ERIC) —These guys have the best soil information available.



    BOKASHI
    EM Bokashi Recipe:
    Ingredients
    100 lb (20kg X 2 bags) of wheat bran
    12 litres of warm water
    240 cc of molasses
    240 ml of EM (Effective Microorganisms www.teraganix.com)

    What you'll need
    a tarp, or a large, smooth area protected from the rain
    a bucket, or a large spray bottle
    a large air-tight container, such as an industrial plastic barrel with the lid

    1. Spread wheat bran on a big plastic tarp.
    A driveway or any other smooth surface would do fine, but you'll want to make sure that you can protect it from rain - we think about these things in rainy British Columbia! With a tarp, you can wrap the whole batch up as a big bundle if rain threatens.

    2. Mix the warm water, molasses and EM in a big container.

    3. Spray the liquid mixture over the bran with a water jug or a large spray bottle.

    4. Mix the bran and the liquid further by hand, crumbling the chunks down until the bran is evenly wetted.

    5. Put the mixture in the air-tight barrel. Press it down as you stuff it in to remove as much air as possible.

    6. Leave it for about a month in a warm place. (normal room temperature, or slightly warmer if possible)

    7. When the surface of the mixture becomes covered with a whitish, fuzzy mold-like material and has a nice (at least for some of us!) sour fermented smell, it's done.

    8. The bokashi can be used right away. For longer-term storage, spread the mixture out on your plastic tarp away from direct exposure to sunlight and moisture until it's completely dry. Break up any lumps; the bokashi should be completely granular. This usually takes a couple of days on the warm summer days of our area; in a hotter, drier climate it would presumably happen quite a bit quicker.

    9. The dried bokashi should be good for at least two years.

    https://permaculture.biz/
    https://www.youtube.com/user/TaranakiFarm —Darren J. Doherty, Perma-forester
     
  15. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Home Page:
    Climate:
    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    On the aerial - which way is north?
     
  16. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    being a google maps screen shot, north is always up the page I think.
     
  17. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    Looking at the tree shadows, I would say the shot was taken late morning.
     
  18. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I (and others here) get the peak oil thing. I'm curious though, how far is it from where you live to the land? Because it's likely that post peak oil will be a descent rather than a collapse, meaning that we will get quite uncomfortable over a longer period of time (rather than very uncomfortable quickly). In that case, what the council say about living there may be quite an issue. What happens if you can't access enough petrol to drive to the land to get the food you have been growing? Or it becomes so expensive to travel that you're better off growing food at home? I can't imagine buying land I couldn't live on unless I was doing land or native restoration.

    Re importing nutrients, commercial chicken shit (unless from organic growers) is full of stuff you probably don't want on your land on a large scale. You could probably set up chickens in a large free range paddock system where they could look after themselves (what predators do you have?), and their food would be coming mostly from the land (which is a good thing). There's a really good thread on how to plant out a rotating feed system for chickens that could probably be adapted to untended chickens:

    https://forums.permaculture.org.au/...ncerns-about-the-way-most-people-raise-chicke

    Having said that, I do think there are issues with leaving farm animals for long periods of time. What happens if you can't get to the land one weekend?
     
  19. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Unless one 'rotates' the image, before taking the 'screen snap'...
     
  20. Solaris

    Solaris Junior Member

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    If anyone wants my 50 page New Energy list email [email protected]

    I doubt peak oil will be a real issue, unless the distribution systems break down. There will be alternatives such as the water car or hydrogen within a short while. With think film solar collecting there is no reason why the shell of a car cannot be totally solar collecting including the windows. However if humanity decides to act in fear and get dumber than it already is there may be a slump, regression, war, disease dark age of sorts
    https://www.youtube.com/user/peakmoment —TV programs
    https://uk.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=84561 —Genepax/Japanese Water Car


    A Blueprint For A Better World (2002) Brian Desborough – (Lloyd Zirbes, Viktor Schauberger, Nikola Tesla, Edwin V. Gray, Thomas Henry Moray, Nathan Stubblefield.. and others. brilliant and lucid description of Schauberger's work).


    STAN MEYER ~HYDROGEN ON DEMAND ~WATER CAR
    The fuel cell consists of stainless steel plates arranged as a capacitor, with pure water acting as the dielectric. A rising staircase of direct current pulses is sent through the plates at roughly 42 kHz, which is claimed to play a role in the water molecules breaking apart with less directly applied energy than is required by standard electrolysis. Patents listed on wikipedia.
    Technical details in videos from talks in New Zealand, Switzerland and Colorado.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhSP8b1OBAg&NR=1 Footage including Stan Meyer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7BAODqqcpQ&mode=related&search= Meyer water fuel cell injector
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jcy3JbGjQwo —Stan Meyer water car
    https://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3333992194168790800
    https://befreetech.com/media/stan_meyers_bb.wmv
    https://www.waterfuelcell.org/
    https://waterpoweredcar.com/stanmeyer.html
    https://www.waterfuelconverters.com/theindustry.html
    Equinox - It Runs on Water (Free Energy - 1995) 50 min - Apr 17, 2006
    https://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2464139837181538044
    https://freeenergynews.com/Directory/Dennis_Lee/index.html

    Daniel Dingel Former NASA scientist's invention, car that runs on ...
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVhXrvCCILw
    www.danieldingel.com/

    www.caronwater.org/ —Danny Klein water car.
    https://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/indexfuel.html —Australian water car system different to Joe Cell.
     

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