Philosophy 15 – Manage, rather than control.
We are merely custodians of our farm. As such, we feel it is presumptuous to consider that we have the ultimate control of our ecosystem. We attempt to manage our ecosystem so that the problem becomes the solution.
Our chief strategy for pest, weed and disease management is to establish a complex ecological system. Diversity is the key. The strategy for many of our farm management issues results in increasing diversity – from soil biology to our retail/marketing mix.
When we are faced with an issue, we need to remember that, as part of our ecosystem, our primary responsibility is to be ecological niche managers. If we have a surplus of an organism e.g. an insect, a pathogen or a plant, then we need to look at the niche it is occupying and alter the system to enable the restoration of “balance” within a diverse system.
Paterson Curse is a prevalent local weed. Historically, it would be sprayed with an herbicide. Our farm would have been purple with it in the past. It is inconsequential now after we have changed our grazing management.
As mentioned in Philosophy 9 – Keep all the links in the chain. The redgum tree has been “scarabfied” (the origin of “scarified”) by the pigs.
They were able to identify exactly where in the soil, below the branches, where the scarab eggs had previously fallen and developed into grubs.
Being open and willing to these kinds management methods has taught us the value of managing rather than an autocratic style of control within our farm ecosystem. It has benefited us with significant cost savings in term of our ecosystems and our finances.