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Hartwich family rises to challenge

Phillip and Russell Hartwich at Mt Challicum.

If ever you wanted to work in the ‘great outdoors’, Mt Challicum provides the ideal backdrop. While the views are priceless, the dramatic slopes of Mt Challicum come with a set of challenges.
Steep rises, shallow top soil layers and plenty of wind that is being captured on neighbouring properties in giant wind turbines, all combine to make life interesting on the property, 20 kilometres south-east of Ararat.
While some might think the property would be better named as Mt Challenging, rather than Mt Challicum, the Hartwich family is tackling issues head on.
Not only has the family found a way to get water up the steep slopes but it is also working to find out how to get the best result for both land and stock from grazing management.
Later this month the Hartwichs will throw open their gates to the public and show the fruits of their labours during a Water Wisdom and Profitable Perennials field day run by Department of Primary Industries.
“Those attending will get to see a solar-powered farm-water supply system, including the costings and planning process that took place,” DPI Ararat Hills Project leader Hayley Malloy said.
“The new system has improved the security of water supply and increased grazing system flexibility.”
Philip and Russell have lived at Mt Challicum all their lives after their grandfather bought the property in the late 1940s. They now manage the farm with their father Noel.
Mt Challicum runs about 6000 merinos, including about 2500 ewes, 2000 wethers and 1500 young stock.
Reticulating piped water across the property has also made the whole system more flexible.
Two solar panels power the pump to levels up to 60 metres higher than the base dam level.
It took about 100 hours to lay pipe and install the system, with the family doing the work themselves.
The Hartwichs also host several research plots that are part of the EverGraze Low Input on Native Perennials Project which aims to increase farm profitability by 50 percent and reduce salinity recharge.
Researchers Zhongnan Nie and Reto Zollinger from DPI Hamilton are working at the site and will present their latest findings at the field day.
It is one of many projects the family has been involved in with DPI and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority over the past decade.
“Other activities have included installing more than 11 kilometres of landclass fencing, gully erosion control projects, waterway fencing, revegetation and protection, fencing and planting hill tops and creating shelterbelts using locally native plants,” Ms Malloy said.
Water Wisdom and Profitable Perennials runs from 10am to noon on March 30. People can register by calling H55 0523.

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Posted on Mar 24 2010

Posted by on Mar 24 2010. Filed under Agriculture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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