A field day demonstrating the opportunities and techniques of native plant
direct seeding was held in the Bethungra district property “Oakley” yesterday. It was here at Oakley that Martin Driver, ANPC Project Manager and Owen Whitaker, Natural Capital principal and owner of Oakley presented on the pro’s and con’s of direct seeding.
Owen and Martin, with a bit of help from a few farmer participants covered the principles of direct seeding, site selection, site preparation, seeding equipment and methods. Owen and Martin got us up close and personal with a range of seeding equipment and explained the benefits and limitations of each for a range of different applications based on many years experience in the field of direct seeding. For example, the air seeder (basically a machine that sits on the back of your ute that blows seed in an even distribution behind the ute while you drive) is a great way to introduce grass species such as kangaroo grass back into your farm. Another example, involved a pull-behind trailor set up, with a deep ripper, that is perfect for use in heavy soils and along creeklines. But no matter what machine you use, it really is all about weed control, weed control, weed control (site preparation) and appropriate selection of, and seed sourcing, from local species.
So I hear you ask “but wait, what is the difference between planting tube stock and direct seeding?” Well let me tell you, the answer is not straight forward but can be summarised into five key learnings I took away from the day.
- Direct seeding is far cheaper than tubestock
- Direct seeding requires far less manual labour
- Direct seeding can revegetate large areas, quickly, cheaply and easily.
- Direct seeding is all about patience. There will not be an immediate result – in some instances plants don’t appear for 15 years! (That’s an extreme case though, normally takes between 1-2 years). Tube stock on the other hand can provide you with an “immediate” result….Just water them and look after them so they don’t die after ok.
- Direct seeding is not suited for big social, community planting days so if its a school event or an awareness campaign then tube stock is the way to go.
So in short there are pros and cons to both. Martin and Owen say that it all depends on your objectives – they suggest that a bit of both is always a nice way to go.
Kyeamba and Boorowa Landcare have direct seeders for hire so get in touch with your local landcare to start direct seeding tomorrow…..well actually not tomorrow – maybe wait until the last frost (so August time) and then start direct seeding.