Sustainable Farm Power
Farms can play a major part in the search for more sustainable sources of power generation.
Farms generally have space to host Solar, Wind and even Hydroelectric generating capacity. Whether this is just to offset their own consumption or generate power for the grid it all helps to establish and support these emerging technologies. Even in cities without access a land area, it is possible to offset power consumption by utilizing green power sources such as countrygreen®, Country energy’s accredited green power product.
Toulon has a SunPower Photovoltaic solar array to provide most of its on-farm power requirements. In addition to this an individual solar pump is remotely solar powered. All power accessed from the grid is 100% countrygreen®.
If a crop is sown by the Zero Emission Triton EV, towing the Agrowplow AD Hybrid Discdrill it is sown without any emissions. This is zero emission sowing. The use of No Kill cropping with no fertiliser or chemicals and only renewable energy and seed (also a renewable resource) as inputs will be the most sustainable form of cropping available today.
Agrowplow AD Hybrid Disc drill
In order to pull a seed drill with a 4x4 utility some modifications were required. The seed drill needed to have low pulling resistance. The Agrowplow AD Hybrid Disc drill has about half the normal number of disc assemblies and as No Kill cropping is conducted as a dry sowing operation this also helps with vehicle traction. We sow on the contour in hilly country so again the workload is reduced during operation.
These plantings were planned to address a lack of structural and species diversity in certain areas on Toulon. Over 3000 native plants have been sown into 1.6 km of biodiversity lots. There are also two larger areas where the corners have been cut off a paddock creating a native plant triangle.
These triangles have a much larger width and enough critical mass to be a small ecosystem. Both the lots and triangles have over 52 different species planted in them from trees to shrubs and native grasses. An emphasis has been placed on flowering plants to encourage small birds into the system. The lower story plants will start to address the lack of structural diversity in our landscape.
Over 30ha has been fenced out and specifically managed as remnant vegetation area. Toulon is a working farm but this does not preclude a wide variety of wildlife from co-existing with the operation. The grazing system encourages large amounts of groundcover and standing grass which encourages an abundance of smaller lizards and reptiles.
The river system has also seen an explosion in the water dragon population along with native water rats and platypus. A greater number of small predatory birds are also now seen as well as an increase in the general bird population.
Farm Power Supply
Toulon uses 100% Countrygreen (Country Energy's certified renewable power) for all farm electricity. Solar powered pumping and solar powered electric fencing are both utilised. We focus on utilising as much renewable power on farm as possible. Solar grid connect is an important part of this plan.
Project Public Recognition
This plan was awarded funding as a finalist through the Farming Systems program. The property operators were announced as the State Winners (Tablelands) of the Carbon Cocky of the Year 2007-2008.