Chatsworth House 2023 Field Day – Bringing together farm business and natural capital.
No farming, not broadacre, not livestock, not horticulture, not even carbon farming is black and white anymore.
That’s the message delivered to a sell-out crowd of 200 – including a crew from Te Mania Angus – at the recent Chatsworth House Pastoral field day Bringing together farm business and natural capital.
The take-home message from day one of the two-day event was that the ecological condition of our farm is linked to its production and profitability.
Chatsworth House recently hosted it’s popular 2-day educational event which is designed for livestock and cropping farmers keen to expand their knowledge on natural capital in the context of the global economy, consumer trends, carbon and bio-diversity markets and what this all means for individual farm businesses.
Te Mania Angus director Tom Gubbins says key speakers across the two days painted a compelling picture that we need to build and maintain our natural capital, as well as our financial, agricultural and social capitals.
Soil, Tom says, was defined as an asset and the challenge is how do we make money and improve the soil?
He says Rabobank’s Lachlan Monsborough discussed the Taskforce on Nature Related Financial Disclosures and stressed we need to ensure we don’t have ‘carbon myopia’.
“Instead of focusing on carbon only, instead Lachlan says we need to look at the whole ecosystem of our farm, diversity, soils, plants, animals, people, etc,” Tom explains.
“He also says the wider farming industry needs to have new conversations about business and nature, seeing soil as living systems,” he added.
“David Hardwick, from Soil Land Food, captivated the audience with his plain English breakdown of the need to build and maintain our natural capital, as well as our financial, agricultural and social capitals.
“He gave the example of soil being like a good local pub, it has all the elements we need – good food, people, drink, nice atmosphere. A bad pub is like a dead soil, it provides nothing and goes broke.”
Tom says David demonstrated plants can fix the soil without nasty inputs, producing so many benefits and services from a healthy soil.
He says he had numerous examples of farmers who have dropped their soluble fertiliser programs and increased yield and productivity due to healthy soils.
“His address spelt out how high-functioning natural capital increases profit, increases productivity, increases efficiency, water infiltration, health, resilience – and happiness,” Tom says.
“The impressive list of speakers covered the practical, the theoretical, the financial through to the holistic and two days was nowhere near enough to hear and absorb the cutting-edge content of every presentation,” he says.
“We have been fortunate to engage some of the presenters as consultants, like Nic Kentish and Grant Sims, both of whom we have interviewed on our RawAg podcast and are already planning to invite some of the other speakers to present at future Te Mania Angus and Team Te Mania events.”