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Clear your gorse with new technology.

April 2024

SFM has partnered with local company Ulex Enterprises to bring best-practice land-clearing technology to the ActivAcre Project in Tasmania.

Land clearing and weed management present challenges for all forms of agriculture and forestry. Traditional bulldozing, excavating, spraying, and burning methods can be a heavy financial and operational burden for farmers. In some cases, land may be deemed unusable as the cost and risks associated with clearing are perceived to be too great.

Ulex Enterprises Tasmania

Ulex Enterprises is a local family-run business headed by siblings Kim, Terry, and Gemma Knight. With a background in agriculture, the trio have refined and expanded their knowledge of mulching, that was passed down to them by their father who also ran a mulching business until 2010. Their own business has grown to include mulching, slashing, and stump grinding. The expansion has enabled them to introduce an Ahwi mulcher, this top-of-the-line machinery has made them highly sought after across both the agricultural and forestry sectors in Tasmania.

What is Mulching?

Mulching is a site preparation technique that utilises specialised heavy machinery to clear trees, weeds, and unwanted plantation regrowth

Mulching can completely remove dense weed growth by reducing weeds to small pieces, without disturbing or encouraging the seed bed to germinate. However, unlike excavation style methods, no follow-up burning is necessary and mulch decomposes in situ, thus enhancing soil quality.  

Benefits of Mulching

Ulex says the benefits of mulching go beyond area clearing and the process can be modified to suit the goals of each unique property.

“The alternative to mulching has always been bulldozing and burning, which comes with a lot of considerations. At the time of burning, helicopters are needed to manage the burn which can get quite expensive.”

This traditional method creates windrows which offer habitat for unwanted wildlife.

“Mulching delivers a flat workspace and there are no windrows which makes weed management and planting a lot better. With mulching, the root systems are cut and buried, slowing down the amount of time it takes for things to grow back. Mulching also increases the surface area for the wood and debris to rot down, providing good access to air, sun and microbes to accelerate the breakdown process,” says Ulex.

In addition to these benefits, Ulex also says the mulching process is highly efficient. 

“Our service is a one-pass operation, meaning it only takes one attempt and mere hours to clear a site. Once an area is mulched, it usually decomposes in about 12 months. It’s essentially creating garden compost but on a really big scale,” says Ulex.

Effective and efficient Land Clearing Alternative

Hillsides, creek and river ways, and changing topograhpy can present significant challenges for traditional heavy machinery. Ulex have met these challenges by investing in state-of-the-art machinery. “Our machines have great maneuverability on difficult sites which can help keep costs down” says Terry. ‘Our vehicles are road registered, so there’s no expensive float fees on top of what you’re already paying. Where a site is located in the state, and the season that we’re in, will dictate how early we can get to a job but we’re prepared to help farmers with big jobs and small jobs alike and work with landowners to provide great solutions.”

ActivAcre Land Assessment Manager, Alex Tabor is excited about mulching in future forestry investments, “As far as land management outcomes go, bulldoze and burn requires a lot of follow up and holds an additional risk depending on the time of year the burn takes place, adding another layer of complexity. But when you mulch, you’re reducing the above ground biomass, it’s a one-off intervention and you’re maintaining your soil profile.”

It’s also a great option for primary weed control and does an excellent job of getting the ground ready to plant. Bulldozing and burning isn’t even comparable to the benefits you get from mulching.

Ulex Makes Light Work of Dense Weed and Regrowth Clearing at Nietta. 

“The site in Nietta was a Eucalyptus nitens, that wasn’t replanted following harvest. The weeds took over and it really became quite a mess. In some areas, in order to walk through, you had to cut out a path with every step, it was very hard going. Following the certification of a Forest Practices Plan, we went through and mulched everything back to clear land.”

“We noted that the site also had an abundance of Dogwood which contains a sap that is highly fire resistant and very difficult to burn. This would have made the traditional bulldoze and burn method very difficult,” says Ulex.

Alex Tabor has been impressed with the work completed at Nietta. “So far at Nietta, Ulex has cleared 15 of 70 hectares and the results have been astounding and have far exceeded my expectations.”

SFM and ActivAcre Recommend Ulex Enterprises

After seeing a more than satisfying result at Nietta, Alex says she highly recommends reaching out to Ulex Enterprises.

“Ulex as a company is quite amazing. They’re branching out from a traditional ag background and bringing really unique insights and new capacity into the industry which hasn’t happened in a long time.”

“They’re an enthusiastic, honest and hardworking bunch of young people and I’m pleased to be able to work with them,” says Alex.

When asked if Keeton would recommend ActivAcre services to other farms he said: “Farmers need to do their own due diligence but I’m very comfortable using them. The security it brings to a family income is not to be discounted. You write a contract for 30 years, ours is indexed. And that’s very important, especially in farming.

Interested in Land Clearing and Mulching in Tasmania?

“It’s best to give us a call or shoot us an email so we can discuss the job and the different solutions we might be able to provide. We’re excited to see that people are starting to realise that not only is this is an option, but they’re recognising all the benefits that come with it,” says Gemma from Ulex.

Contact Ulex here


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