Soaking up carbon at Warrenbayne

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Making a difference: Regional farmers hear how tree planting has helped transform a Warrenbayne property.

About 60 people from northern Victoria heard Russell and Janine Washusen’s story of developing a carbon neutral farm at Warrenbayne on the weekend.

The group, comprising mostly farmers, heard presentations on the role of farm forestry and carbon sequestration before spending the afternoon on a tour of the Washusens’ 110-hectare pasture-based beef farm.

They purchased the property, beset by waterlogging and soil erosion, in 1977 and set about excluding stock from the 5km of waterways and planting trees to help control erosion and manage water run-off.

The introduction of rotation grazing helped in landscape management.

The Washusens have achieved carbon neutral status under Meat & Livestock Australia’s accounting tools.

Many of the farmers attending the field day were livestock producers. They heard speakers on the MLA carbon neutral 2030 program; the opportunities and pitfalls of farm forestry, from Rodney Keenan from University of Melbourne; and the practical experience of Rowan Reid, from the Bambra Agroforestry Farm.

The speakers fielded many questions from an engaged audience.

Among the local faces in the crowd was former farmer Pam Robinson, who returned from Melbourne to see what progress had been made on the property.

Ms Robinson was a founding member of the Warrenbayne-Boho Land Protection Group and was honoured with an Australia Medal for her environmental and community work last year.

Mr and Mrs Washusen are retiring and the property will go under the hammer on May 14 at 11am with Rodwells Real Estate.

Scientists are saying that livestock farms can become low carbon emitters or even become carbon neutral. Read about how the Washusens’ farm reached a carbon neutral status in next week’s Country News.

Keen interest: The field day attracted a maximum crowd of 60 people.