Farmers in the Seddon and Ward areas started the Starborough/Flaxbourne Soil Conservation group in 2005 to look at a range of issues, including challenges from the potential impacts of climate change. This part of Marlborough is already very dry and when for 12 years, the area failed to achieve its 576 millimetre long term rainfall average, the future of farming wasn’t looking very good.
The farmers, with help from the Council, New Zealand Landcare Trust, and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Sustainable Farming Fund, looked at how they could turn a profit while looking after their land. The outcomes of this work culminated in a national field day entitled "Beyond Reasonable Drought; adapting dryland farming to climate change".
The field day brought together all of the information relevant to the project, including soils work, plant trials, climate change work and landscape and farm systems analysis. A series of brochures and a booklet summarising the research and conclusions of the project have been produced, setting out suggested best practice guidelines for landowners to consider.
The Beyond Reasonable Drought Field Day was held on 14 May 2008.
Starborough/Flaxbourne Soil Conservation Project - Report
Beyond Reasonable Drought - Adapting Dryland Farming to Climate Change - August 2008