Farming passions shared

Farming passions shared

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INNOVATION: Nicholas Eyles is nominated for the 2020 Tasmanian Community Achievement Award, alongside Fork It Farm pig farmer Daniel Croker and creator Sarah Hirst, who assisted Agfest in the Cloud. Photo by Phil Biggs.

INNOVATION: Nicholas Eyles is nominated for the 2020 Tasmanian Community Achievement Award, alongside Fork It Farm pig farmer Daniel Croker and creator Sarah Hirst, who assisted Agfest in the Cloud. Photo by Phil Biggs.

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Sustainable farming is key to agriculture, says Tassie farmer.

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Eighth generation farmer Nicholas Eyles says sustainable farm management, innovation and community advocacy are critical to the future of Tasmanian agriculture.

Mr Eyles, of Selbourne, who has worked for more than a decade on farms and sits on the Tasmanian Farmers and Grazier Association's vegetable council, is nominated for the 2020 Community Achievement Award.

He sits alongside fellow farming nominees Lebrina pig farmer Daniel Croker, of Fork it Farm, and content creator Sarah Hirst, who joined forces with Rural Youth Tasmania to create Agfest in the Cloud.

One of the key aspects of Mr Eyles' nomination is his involvement in the Hillcrest Family Trust's on-farm research and development green pea planting trials that investigated direct seed drilling.

Mr Eyles said his family's sustainable farming methods saved around $20,000 in crop input costs, and have also been adopted by other Tasmanian farmers with reportedly positive results.

"Three years ago we changed our crop production methods, using direct seed drilling, which had not been trialled in Tasmania before ... in the first year we saved $700 a hectare in production costs," Mr Eyles said.

"We direct drilled about 25 per cent of our crop in that first year. This last year we did about 60 to 70 per cent of our corp using that method. Our yields were on par with our conventionally sown crop but we still had that financial saving.

"It removed all ground preparation costs, we had zero erosion issues and there was a reduction in irrigation costs because the water holding capacity remained good. The microbial activity in the soil was higher than traditional worked paddocks, and the the organic matter was retained, which were all positive results for soil health. Also last year we only did one herbicide application, and there were no other inputs into that paddock."

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: Nicholas Eyles' family has adopted innovative farming practices to improve sustainability and cut costs.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: Nicholas Eyles' family has adopted innovative farming practices to improve sustainability and cut costs.

Mr Eyles said these sustainable practices had wider reaching positive impacts on the farming and wider communities.

"As producers we are accountable for food and fiber production for many people and this responsibility means that we must adhere to food production standards and operate in a way that not only meets these standards but beats them," he said.

"Raising awareness of the critical role we play in the day to day production of the nation's food resource whilst maintaining the natural resources and fulfilling our environmental obligations is critical for agriculture today...without this we cannot be sustainable long term."

The story Farming passions shared first appeared on The Examiner.

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