WA Pastoralists Spend a Day With Allan Savory

Four pastoralists from WA’s rangelands joined 100 other participants to hear the ‘father of the Holistic Management philosophy’ Allan Savory present at Mataranka in the Northern Territory this month.

With travel support from Rangelands NRM WA’s Sustainable Pastoralism program, Harry and Alys McKeough, Cam Brooks and Kurt Elezovich joined other pastoralists, representatives of NRM organisations, agency staff at the “A day with Allan Savory – Conversations on Carbon, Cattle and Creating True Capital” forum at Mataranka NT on 13 August.

Allan Savory outlined his Holistic Management philosophy, its principles and tools for its application to grazing enterprises.

His presentation and interactions with the audience were complimented by other presentations on practical examples of holistic management in the Australian context, research on biodiversity incentive schemes and carbon farming.

Regional Landcare Facilitator (Southern Rangelands) Paul Erkelenz who also attended the forum, said those who attended the day found it challenging but worthwhile.

“While most pastoralists agree with the broad approach that Allan promotes, they can also face some real challenges in applying it at a practical level in many situations”, he said.

“However, the chance to talk to other pastoralists from across Australia gave them the opportunity to discover what others are doing and chew over what might and mightn’t be possible”.

Harry and Alys McKeough from “Carey Downs” Station via Gascoyne Junction said the discussion on Holistic Management principles described in a different way how they were already intuitively running their property and business.

“While we do most of our planning in our heads, our decision making does already tend to integrate environmental, economic and social considerations”, Harry said.

“Allan’s presentation also highlighted that we need to consider the various contexts of problems and possible solutions when making decisions,” Alys added.

A video of a recent presentation Allan Savory made overseas, including his sometimes controversial call for wider use of short duration, high intensity grazing of domestic livestock to restore degraded rangelands can be found at http://on.ted.com/Savory .

Image: [from left]: Kurt Elezovich, Cam Brooks, Harry McKeough, Alys McKeough and Paul Erkelenz debrief after the forum.