05 Aug 2021 - This evening, over 2,000 people from across the country came together online to watch the 2021 National Landcare Awards - and Tassie has a winner!
Image: Michael Nichols (centre) Accepts the Award, with Landcare Tasmania's Peter Stronach A/CEO (left) and Director Jonathan Lord (right).
Tasmania's Redbank Farm won the Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Award for their pursuit of precision agricultural techniques that address crop variability and resource-use efficiency.
"This award is presented to a primary producer or enterprise for demonstrating innovation in agriculture land management through leadership or application that delivers improved natural resource management and farm productivity outcomes." -Landcare Australia
Michael Nichols owns and manages a family property at Sisters Creek, Redbank Farm. Redbank Farm is a 380 hectare property in north-west Tasmania that has been operated for over 20 years by the Nichols family.
Images: The picturesque Redbank Farm Landscape
Redbank farm balances profitability and sustainability with almost a third of the farm dedicated to natural bush, wetlands and revegetation areas. The 100 hectares of native bushland contains some of the most pristine remnant forest in the region, including white gum forests, blackwood stands and valuable old habitat trees. The farm also hosts a family of wedge-tailed eagles, and the threatened freshwater lobster and burrowing crayfish live in local creeks.
The Nichols family use a range of innovative and best practice initiatives to run their farm sustainably.
Image: The expansive Redbank Farm property
It is an incredibly diverse farming business. They crop potatoes, onions, carrots, processing peas, buckwheat, pyrethrum, poppies, mustard, wheat, canola, beef steers, plantation radiata pine saw logs. He has built and manages a grain pooling facility, supporting local growers to store grain and on sell to the dairy industry. He works collaboratively with Nichols chickens, hosting a hatchery on-site, along with Hill Farm Preserves, a unique processing and exporting business.
Michael also owns and operates his own oil press for oilseed processing, producing oil and meal. If all this weren't enough for him to be getting on with, he has embarked, over the last few years, on a pursuit of precision agricultural techniques to address crop variability and resource use efficiency.
To keep atop of their crops, the farm employs a mixture of state-of-the-art agricultural practices including grid soil sampling, satellite NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) imagery and yield mapping to ensure maximum sustainable output and soil regeneration.
Image: Redbank Farm owner and manager Michael Nichols accepting the 2019 Tasmanian Landcare Award © Natasha Mulhall
Michael is a careful and thorough operator, and is showing that planning and attention to detail and the use of a suite of innovative tools and technology can have great results for profitability and Landcare outcomes. He has a meticulous mind and is keenly observant and cares deeply about his land. He is an inspiration and pioneer in innovative agriculture, congratulations Michael!
Peter Stronach Acting CEO Landcare Tasmania has said:
"Winning this award gives us, as a community driven organisation, the momentum to continue to support those willing to strive for a more sustainable future. It's fantastic to see the innovative agriculture practices being undertaken on a Tasmanian farm be recognised and celebrated on a national level."
Landcare Tasmania hosted a celebratory dinner to watch the live streamed event, bringing together a broad network of Tasmanian Landcare legends. The 9 national finalists from our 2019 State and Territory Awards are from a variety of groups from Tasmania and came together to share in the State's first national win in 6 years.
Featured on ABC Rural: National Landcare winners recognised for their passion, environmental excellence
The 2021 National Landcare Awards and 2021 National Landcare Conference are delivered by Landcare Australia through support from Australian Government's National Landcare Program.