PETER’S SUCCESSFULLY FARMING HVO REHABILITATED MINING LAND
Peter Nichols reckons you can farm land after mining and produce the yields you got from the land before it was mined. He should know. Peter has been farming Hunter Valley Operations’ (HVO) land for more than 20 years. His company is licenced to farm 863 ha of HVO land. He and HVO conducted trials, in conjunction […]
PETER’S SUCCESSFULLY FARMING HVO REHABILITATED MINING LAND13 January 2023
Peter Nichols reckons you can farm land after mining and produce the yields you got from the land before it was mined.
He should know. Peter has been farming Hunter Valley Operations’ (HVO) land for more than 20 years. His company is licenced to farm 863 ha of HVO land.
He and HVO conducted trials, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, running beef cattle on rehabilitated HVO mining land and on neighbouring non mined land.
“The rehabilitated block out yielded the non-mined block in terms of kilograms per head of cattle,” Peter says.
Peter has a long connection with the area. His great grandparents have had a nearby farm on land now owned by HVO that is licenced to Peter’s company to farm.
Peter and his family had always aspired to farm cattle. He started his farming business from scratch using 200 ha of HVO land.
“We are lucky to be involved here at HVO. HVO has helped us quite a bit. They are good people to work with.”
He says the good results come from him treating the land like his own and forming a special relationship with the land.
“If you respect the land, it will respect you.”
Initially it was lucerne but now its oats and rye that are the winter crops for his Angus stud.
“We don’t overstock the blocks which prevents weeds and erosion.”
“We let the grasses go to seed rather than chew them down. This multiplies the grasses. As you can see we have good grass cover.”
He says he has always had good support from HVO.
“They [HVO] have a good relationship with the community and farmers. They do a lot of good things in the community.”
“If I have got a problem, all I have to do is call. The mine manager and his team listen.”
Peter and HVO are involved with the NSW government’s Local Land Service which Peter says helps with feral pest management, especially wild dogs.
Another arm of Peter’s family business provides pump and general duties services in the pit for HVO.
He agrees that his business is a perfect example of how mining and agriculture can not only co-exist but work together to mutually benefit one another.
Peter’s company is one of seven licensees farming HVO land. HVO has around 6,000ha of buffer and rehabilitated lands which is used for dairy, cattle grazing or pasture. There are around 2,000 head of dairy and beef cattle on HVO land.