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Wed, 07 June 2023

"Kirribilli" In brief..

Bill Noonan
(02) 68476282
Area (in hectares)
1640 ha
Rainfall (mm/pa)
475 mm
Oldman Saltbush area (hecatares)
150 ha
year of first Planting

Q & A: an interview with Bill Noonan

Why OMSB planted? To increase productivity, particularly on degraded soils. This property had severe soil degradation and I wanted to help with regeneration. I do a lot of stock trading and I needed to have a strong feed base. This country had large stands of omsb years ago so why not use it in the grazing mix again. It helped in drought then and I know it will do the same again.

What grazing and pasture benefits have been observed? To have feed in dry times is a real advantage, a great advantage and it has done this well. It also provides guaranteed feed at strategic times like shearing and lambing. To have your stock on feed like this that you know is there, makes work and management easier. To rely on just annual grasses means you never know when your feed base will be there and you are only ever 2 months away from the next dry time with these types of grasses. Omsb just gives you many more grazing options.

What financial benefits have been observed? To be able to buy sheep with confidence during dry times and every year has a dry time. I can have these sheep growing out on the omsb and wait for the grass to grow to finish and sell them. I suppose I could use grain to finish them but I would rather use the grass when it is ready. It really comes down to flexibility and economics and omsb is better. I can buy a sell at any time, whenever I want to.

Biggest OMSB impact? Health of the soil and animals. I saw this only after two years of having the bush. The soil just looked better and when it rained more water went into the ground. That did not happen before on this type of country. All my scaled country is recovering now and becoming much more productive. This scald country is more productive now than what the better country was before. I have also noticed that the animals appear to be fresh when on the bush. They always have pink mussels. Worms dont seem as bad either.

Any problems with OMSB? I have had a few insect problems at times, mainly heliothis. Im not that far from cotton and Im sure this has caused insect explosions at times, particularly with the heliothis. There is nothing (other insects) to stop them. A few plants have died from water logging in the swamp, particularly after 3-4 weeks of water logging. It is the summer rain that takes them out the most, winter rain does not worry them too much

Do you / if you had a salinity problem, do you think OMSB would help with controlling deep drainage and/or lowering the water table? Yes, definitely - because of the deep root. The plant can live in water so long that it would surely survive in salt and pull a lot of water out of the ground. It would also help to get other plants established with it due to the shelter.

Would you like to increase your area sown to OMSB? Yes, as well as my neighbours.

What limits your planting of a larger area? Thats simple, finance. I will not take on too much debt. Debt helped to ruin this place.

Our Comments:

Bill planted omsb to give him improved grazing flexibility and to make sue he had feed when his neighbours didn't. It was first planted on high sodic soil to make use of these problem areas. However it has been shown that the omsb blocks planted on better soil has given stronger grazing results.

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