The Doyle Family - Rivers of Carbon/Yass Habitat Linkages

Following on from the "Truth About Trees" Seminar in Gunning in early 2017 there was a lot of interest in the YAN Landcare community for a visit to Matt Doyles property "Glenryan" (Matt was one of the presenters at the seminar). The Doyles are involved in two of our current projects: Rivers of Carbon - Yass River, and the NSW Environmental Trust's Bushconnect program "Yass Habitat Linkages". As part of our Landcare Champions tour for Rivers of Carbon and Yass Habitat Linkages we organised a tour to Glenryan in November for 45 Landcare members. Here is the Doyle Family Story:

The Doyle family purchased the 1320Ha “Glenryan” approx 18km North of Yass in 2004 and went head first into 2 years of drought and wool prices below the cost of production. After feeding stock through 2 long autumn/winter seasons and observing livestock production suffering due to lack of shelter during winter Matt Doyle started to look for solutions.

The first point of contact was Brian Cumberland from Greening Australia and with some funds from Transgrid’s Greengrid program a 3km treeline was established. After observing the benefits of trees not only for windbreak shelter but also in controlling the way the water moved down the slope through the farm the decision was made to plant more areas.  Since then approximately 40000 trees have been planted on “Glenryan”. Various Greening Australia and  CMA programs, including the award winning Boorowa River Recovery Project, Whole of Paddock Restoration Program, Rivers of Carbon and most recently the Yass Habitat Linkages project have been applied to the property.

There are also neighbours involved in tree planting works with projects linking our work in all directions.

The benefits now include improved livestock growth in winter, reduced gully erosion in areas fenced out for trees, reduced water logging (or an improved water cycle) in areas downslope of tree areas, double fenced boundaries which make for much nicer neighbours and a much more aesthetically pleasing outlook across the farm. In the future as some of the treed areas can be returned to the grazing rotation the use of more shade during hot times of the year is expected to be of benefit.

From a farm management perspective the Doyle’s experiences feeding livestock for on bare paddocks led to several years of research and learning in the field of what has now become known as regenerative agriculture. Having been exposed to the teachings of Dr Terry McCosker whilst at Ag college in the early ’90’s  and attending Holistic Management training organised by the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority the farm is now run under holistic management principles with animals run under a low input rotational grazing system with the aim of maintaining ground cover year round and a philosophy of treading lightly on the landscape. Stocking rates are adjusted to suit feed on offer given every season with 12 month rolling rainfall an important tool in deciding when to sell and buy livestock.

The value of mentors is highly regarded and currently Matt is part of Scott Hickman’s Mid Lachlan Landcare group “Growing the grazing Revolution” and spends time learning from leaders in the field of regen ag like Dr Christine Jones of Amazing Carbon, David Marsh a pioneer in holistic management from Boorowa, Colin Seis of Gulgong who is one of the developers of pasture cropping in Australia and previous winner of the Bob Hawke Landcare award.

The goals for the future is to keep improving “Glenryan” so that future generations of the Doyle family can enjoy a healthy life in a healthy landscape.