When we set about correcting the erosion problem on our Greenrock Creek we included “rehydrating the floodplain” as a potential benefit. Many people will have seen statements from Peter Andrews in Natural Sequence Farming about similar benefits that accrue from spreading creek flows over the floodplain.
The results have surprised us. The photos show the extraordinary growth that has occurred on the floodplain at the higher reaches of the creek. You could lose a tractor in this grass. This is an area of about 4 hectares along the creek that was fenced off about 10 years ago and only grazed in summer when the creek stopped flowing. It has not been fertilised. I had to slash a track along the creek to allow Cam Wilson and a bus load of school children to access the ponds a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday I had to slash the track again to retain access. With this length of grass the creek itself and the banks are hidden.
I thought that we may have to rest the area for some years to allow the banks to stabilise and be re-vegetated. Now that the creek has stopped flowing and the floodplain has dried out, it is clear to me that the area needs to be crash grazed with all the cattle I can muster. The flood plain is now many times more productive than it was previously and will allow us to shut up other paddocks for fodder conservation.
The biggest problem that we now have is to be able to plant trees. I have had to spray out one planting site because of the height of the grass. We will use electric fencing around the tree planting sites but, with the grass this long, cattle will not be able to see the fencing. Therefore we plan to slash along the fence lines to retain visibility.