Case study: Wells AG Pty Ltd – VIC

Farm dam after 800m Gallagher Westonfence installed

Project Background

The Wells Ag family are fourth generation producers of black angus cattle, prime lambs and wool on a 1,300ha farm at Elaine, Victoria. Over the past few years, they have been striving to embed more sustainable practises on the property to improve their natural assets, biodiversity and address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, planting trees and improving soil quality. They have a goal to set aside 20% of their property with trees and have thus far planted 15,000 trees; commenced riparian fencing and completed an initial farm dam restoration project.

Environmental Outcomes

This project supported the incredible efforts of the Wells Ag family to continue their ambitious work to improve their property and rehabilitate up to 20 farm dams.  Their previous experience rehabilitating a dam on their property provided the opportunity for learning and reflection on how to improve the process of dam rehabilitation, including a well-designed wetland habitat.

The first step being taken by Wells Ag was to replace their 40+ dams with troughs and a reticulated water system; and limit access points for livestock from the dam, installing 800m of Gallagher’s permanent electric fencing solution. They then prepared the planting area, working closely with their local landcare group and nursery to determine a good mix of native plants that would not only do well in the environment, but also support a diverse, healthy ecosystem.

Guided by Australian National University’s Sustainable Farms: Enhance Farm Dams, and supported by their local Landcare Group, Wells Ag were well resourced to complete such a successful project. Whilst there were some delays to this project due to weather, a flooded dam was welcomed to observe the farm transform into a wetland habitat that will evolve over the years ahead.

The project offered the local community the opportunity to get involved via planting days and be welcomed onto the property to showcase the fencing solution and dam restoration outcomes, sharing information, experiences, ideas and resources.  Wells Ag also welcomed two school groups to assist with planting some of the 1300 native seedlings. They held three working bees and one field day. Over 20 people were involved in the project, contributing 100 volunteer hours; and helping to enhance 2.5ha of degraded farmland.

According to Wells Ag, “it’s great to work in partnership with Landcare as it’s at a grass roots level. There are mutual goals, respect, teamwork and ongoing learning. Together, a lot can be accomplished. We like when the projects involve younger community members and school groups as it is so important that the concepts of conservation, biodiversity, sustainability, and climate change are understood and embraced from an early age. It’s learning and knowledge; it’s change; it’s community; and often, it’s interesting, exciting and fun! Thank you.

We’ve been so grateful for the support and can’t wait to continue with this project and our farm’s dam restoration journey. We were grateful to complete this dam restoration project with the assistance of Landcare and Gallagher – and our community. Thank you. – Indrani Wells, Wells Ag

Ripping the ground to prepare for planting and fence installation.

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