In trying times, laughter can literally be the best medicine, so we have compiled the best laughs out there. Why? A 2016 study showed laughter can decrease stress hormones in the body, decreasing depression. Laughter decreases serum levels of cortisol, and increases levels of dopamine and serotonin (Yim, 2016). Another study found an increase of Natural killer cells – which is an indicator of a high functioning immune system. The more active they are, the better your immune system (Wooten 1996):
So to help, here are some clips I found bloody funny, but try to watch them with someone else, as you’re 30 times more likely to laugh than if you’re alone (Scott, 2015):
Humour (kid friendly):
The hilarious Lee Mack – best bits from “Would I lie to you?”
Farmers adding organic material into their soil will take the equivalent of 200 million cars off the road. And that’s just the beginning…
We should be able to agree that global warming is the single biggest threat to the world at the moment. Emissions is something the government is keen to reduce, but how do you do it without affecting the economy? What if – as a country – we could take the equivalent of 22 million cars off the road, and it actually improve the economy? This is exactly what the Canadian state of Saskatchewan has done by getting their farmers to stop tilling the soil. And it cost the government nothing, as farmers realised it was more profitable for them.
Farming has caused twice the atmospheric CO2 contributed by industry, coal-fired power and motor vehicles combined. Part of this is due to farmers ripping through the soil to kill weeds and plant seeds. This rips the fine spaghetti of microfungi called mycorrhizal fungi, which – as well as feeding the plant nutrients -holds carbon. Ploughing releases soil carbon as Co2, with up to 15 x more CO2 being released from the soil than no til.
Saskatchewan growers in Canada using no-till or zero-till seeding, are (Conservative estimates) sequestering (putting back into the soil) 9.64 million new tonnes of CO2 every year on nearly 28 million acres of farmland. That is the equivalent of taking over 2 million cars off the road every year. Prior to this in the 1970’s, In one year alone, soil losses were estimated at $560 million in lost production in Saskatchewan. It has reduced the amount of sediment, nutrients and bacteria eroding into waterways by up to 90 percent.
The benefits of no till include:
increased crop yield associated with moisture conservation, reduced erosion, improved soil organic matter, and better management of nutrients, crop residue, and pests;
reduced labour and equipment costs associated with doing less tillage;
environmental benefits, including improved soil and water quality, biodiversity, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Carbon is held as organic content. No-til builds up a minimum of ½ tonne per acre of organic content, helping us reach Paris treaty targets of 0.4% of organic content in the soil.
“Organic matter…absorbs up to 90% of its weight in water. Organic matter will release most of the water that it absorbs to plants.”
Just 3% organic material in the soil will hold an Olympic size swimming pool of water extra per Hectare, helping reduce the pressure on the Murray Darling basin irrigation scheme.
CSIRO in South Australia found stubble retention resulted in an average annual input to the soil of 20 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare. This free nitrogen was found to be the contribution of free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which built up on the decomposing plant residues, saving farmers thousands in fertilizer costs.
2/3 of the earth is desertifying. To keep up with demand for global food, 6 million hectares extra is needed extra per year. Instead, 12 million hectares is being degraded. 
Will No-til reduce profits to farmers?
No. Alberta Reduced Tillage project produced a 135 page report detailing the effects of zero till over the previous 15 years:
wheat up 3.5 percent,
barley up 6.2 percent,
flax up 7.9 percent,
peas up 4.6 percent and
lentils up 13 percent.
Net returns: on
wheat – 30% higher and on
peas 25% higher.
5% higher, (due to a 14 percent increase in fertilizer costs).
Labour in no till = 5 ave. field passes
Min till = 5.8 ave. field passes
Conventional till = 5 ave. field passes.
wheat = 0.9 gallons per acre.
Flax = 04 gallons per acre.
Zero till = 1.2 gallons per acre.
Seeding wheat into fallow = 1 gallons per acre.
Alberta herbicide use in conventional Vs No-Til: No Difference. Considering the billions farmers spend on pouring deadly chemicals on their soil, let me repeat this. No. Difference.
Saskatchewan herbicide use: slightly higher in zero till. This may mean that farmers are being cautious by using more, or it could mean more weeds. Personally, I’m more worried about the health of the farmers handling the chemicals.
One example from Canada:
Ten years ago, Halford Farms bought the adjacent field, which had been under conventional tillage for more than a century. Halford could then conduct side-by-side trials comparing the conventional field to a field in zero till for 20 years.
Both fields received the same no-till management and crop inputs. Halford said the trial proved that long-term zero till reduces dependence on commercial fertilizer.
“We produced 43 bushels per acre of 14.5 percent protein wheat on our long-term no till fields.
“Those previously conventional tilled fields yielded only 23 bushels per acre of 13 percent wheat, with the exact same inputs and management.”
Cleaner waterways: Zero till allows better water infiltration into the soil. Organic build-up will reduce sediment, nutrients and bacteria flowing into waterways by 60 to 90 percent, especially phosphorous runoff, which is the cause of the massive algal blooms killing millions of fish.
Reduced Fertilizer costs: More microbes in the soil make more minerals available to plants. One study showed no yield increase of crops using phosphorus for 6 years compared to a no-till paddock, showing Phosphorus trials showed no yield increase from adding phosphorus to the same plots for six continuous years.
The Fix: Educating Farmers firstly about no-til (Canada has managed to enact it without any legislation; farmers are moving towards this because they can see the results).
Every hectare that is burnt off creates more damaging pollution than 6,000 cars, as well as leaving the soil bare causing a loss of topsoil, and reduction in soil carbon.
Why do farmers burn off? To kill weed seeds or snails, which saves them money in chemical. But there are alternatives; South Australian invention by De Bruin Industries in Mt Gambier called the Harrington Seed Smasher attaches to a harvester, and can smash the weed seeds, saving farmers hundreds of thousands in weed killer chemical costs. The costs of this machine is $80,000, less than some farmers spend on weed killer in a year. Also natural products are available like B-Sub from Nutri-Tech to manage snails, or Organic weed killer Slasher.
The Fix: Ban burning off. Give alternatives to farmers who want to burn off, or grants to farmers who install a Harrington Seed Smasher.
Compost is the probiotic for soil – it puts back the good microbes back into the soil, to help build and hold Carbon, and break down nutrients into a usable format for plants. Compost grows roots deeper, allowing more water to be absorbed faster, preventing topsoil being lost. Once enacted, the soil can absorb up to 10,000mm per hour. 1,000mm per hour is the equivalent of a torrential downpour,  preventing flooding and loss of topsoil & nitrogen being washed into waterways, causing fish kills of Blue Green Algae.
Why use Compost instead of inorganic fertilizers?
Plants are smart: when a plant needs minerals, it will push carbon in the form of carbohydrates down through their roots to feed specific micro-fungi that will mine the mineral it needs from the soil and put it into a usable form for the plant.
If you feed nitrogen through inorganic fertilizers into the soil, it does two detrimental things:
If you feed nitrogen to a plant, it doesn’t need to feed nitrogen mining fungi anymore, so they disappear from the soil, making the plant reliant on Nitrogen. Compost helps put the fungi back.
Nitrogen removes the organic material from soil. As Graeme Sait from Nutri-Tech says:
“Bacteria are the most abundant of our army of beneficial soil life and their tiny bodies comprise 17% nitrogen (they have the tightest of all C:N ratios, at 5:1). Hence, they need nitrogen more than any other creature, and they are literally driven into a feeding frenzy with applied N. There is a measurable explosion of bacterial biomass following an application of urea and, immediately afterwards, the stimulated biology seeks carbon to balance out that tight ratio. In the absence of carbon, these hungry creatures are given little choice but to seek out humus as that compensatory carbon source. They created that humus, and it serves as their support system and home base. They would never choose to eat themselves out of house and home, but we give them little choice. In this manner, our mismanagement of nitrogen becomes the biggest link to ongoing humus loss. In fact, recent research reveals that 100 kilograms of soil carbon is lost for every 1 kilogram of nitrogen applied, over and above that required by the crop at any given time.”
The Fix: By subsidising certified high micro-fungi count compost, it will increase the use of compost instead of non-organic fertilizers. The higher the nutrient level in the crop, the less disease pressure, the less pesticide & fungicide is needed to be applied.
Alan Savoury’s Ted talk has been watched by over 8 million people, showing how cell grazing can store carbon in grasslands. Experts have shown if we did cell grazing on half the world’s grasslands we can turn back global warming to pre-industrial levels. 
One of the key success points in Dr Zach Bush’s Documentary is this: “Regenerative agriculture focuses on rebuilding organic matter and living biodiversity in soil, which produces increasingly nutrient-dense food year after year — while rapidly sequestering excess atmospheric carbon underground to reverse climate change.” To do this we need to reduce our reliance on Glyphosate, as it kills all the soil biology, preventing it from sequestering carbon.
Another key is grazing animals will eat the most succulent plants first. Given the opportunity they will eat the better plants to death. What’s left are the less nutritious plants. 
The Fix: rebates to farmers for fencing for Cell Grazing.
We all need to do our bit to overt what is clearly a crisis, and these simple steps can be enacted straight away, helping Australia and farmers alike.
We were proud to be nominated for Landcare Australia’s Innovation in Land Management Award earlier this year for our work in reducing chemicals by enticing hunter bugs to the vineyard through flowers.
The nomination process included a series of questions to answer which I have included below.
Provide information about the individual, group or organisation you are nominating
First planted in 1988, Koonara Wines was the first certified organic vineyard in Coonawarra.
Explain how the nominee has gone beyond usual practice and set a new standard in the application of an innovative farm and/or land management practice. Improved productivity, commercial outcomes and natural resource management should have been delivered through this practice.
We have created a unique form of ecosystem organics, bringing costs down by 30%.
Flowers we grow in the vineyard feed the 5 types of wasp that we have identified as having larvae which feeds on our two major pests, Vine Moth and Light Brown Apple Moth. Wattles that bloom in winter are planted nearby to provide a food source for the wasps all year round. Low flowers save mowing costs, and no need for weed killer. The roots of the flowers have added approximately 1.5% more organic material to the soil, adding the extra holding capacity of a half an olympic size swimming pool of water per hectare, improving water usage and plant stress. Analysing minerals missing from the plant and soil we create custom mineral mixes, keep the vines healthier, plus fertigation of compost teas, sillica and seaweed (plus many other additives) strengthens cell walls in the leaves, reducing the need for excessive copper/sulphur sprays. Most vineyards average 8 sprays, we average 3.5.
Give examples how the activities of the nominee have led to improved productivity outcomes on commercial scale operations. This can be demonstrated through any of the suggested methods outlined below:
3.1. Use of techniques not previously applied in the geographic area or to this type of primary production
3.2. Application of practices on a commercial scale that were previously only undertaken on a research scale, or
3.3. Development of techniques that have significantly improved productivity outcomes while improving natural resource management outcomes.
We were the first to trial Bacillus Subtilis in vineyards as a probiotic to control snail and millipede numbers in our vineyards, reducing millipedes by 99%, white snails by 95% and brown snails by 80%.
If mowing needs to be done to reduce frost, we mow only every second row and wait for the flowers to regrow before mowing.
We do intensive sheep grazing during the year for 1.5 days to shoot bash our vineyard, reducing costs.
Adding Tea compost to build microbiology into the soil so we can move away from foliar mineral mixes sprayed by many hours on a tractor to fertigation, saving many thousands of dollars.
Not spraying or mowing under vine allows some plants to stay there, as many wasps lay their eggs on the stems, creating a natural cycle.
Give examples of how the nominee has demonstrated leadership and encouraged the involvement of others in sustainable/innovative farming and/or land management practices that improved natural resource management and farm productivity outcomes (e.g. field demonstration days, radio interviews, blogs etc.)
Coonawarra has a committee with many of the major wineries on it. A main initiative which I am leading is committed to planting wattles and mid row flowers across the whole of the region.
We have put our whole organic vineyards practice on our website for everyone to use. We have had feedback from other wineries that they will start trialling some of our practices.
I brought eco-guru Graeme Sait to South Australia to meet with 6 politicians discussing a solution to meeting Australia’s Paris Treaty targets of 0.75% carbon back into the soil by subsidising compost and increasing no-till farming. Saskatchewan in Canada have been doing this successfully for 10 years, increasing farmers’ production by 7% and taking the equivalent of 22 million cars off the road
Describe any key challenges the nominee has faced and the strategies used to overcome them
Trial and error doing new practices means the potential of losing crops, which has happened twice. Tapping into new thinking for farming can be difficult when you are the first at doing anything.
In 25 words (2-3 sentences), please summarise your nomination, highlighting the key messages that best describe why this individual, group or organisation should be recognised for outstanding achievements to landcare.
There are better ways out there to farm that are more profitable, using far less toxic chemicals.
Organic wine should last longer, so it all comes down to preservatives.
A lot of people confuse preservative-free wine with organic wine and you can have organic wine that’s got no preservatives in it which is sulfur.
But, you can also have organic wines that have below 100 parts per million of sulfur, and that’s where we come in. So we have sulfur because we do want it to last a little bit longer.
There’s two reasons why I think organic wines with sulfur should last a little bit longer, and there’s also a third reason as well. But one is that with our vineyards we work very hard on trying to increase the nutrients of the vines, and you get more nutrients in the berries, those nutrients will act as a preservative and so it’ll actually make that wine last longer.
Secondly, we don’t have any residual sugar in our wines and residual sugar creates anaerobic reactions in the wine and those anaerobic bacteria eat the sugars and age that wine prematurely, so, when we have no sugar we don’t have a food source for that anaerobic bacteria. Therefore, that wine doesn’t increase the amount of anaerobic bacteria, it doesn’t age prematurely.
So we have a wine with no residual sugar but still low levels of sulfur and it’ll still age extremely well because we don’t need to slow those reactions down with high amounts of sulfur. So, yes and no, it’s not as straight-forward as that, but certainly ones with no preservatives don’t last longer.
The sulfur in there does actually slow the reactions down, but organic wines with a bit of sulfur in there, all organic wines have to have below 100 parts per million for reds, 150 parts per million for whites so they should last longer.
We often hear that a Coonawarra Cabernet will age, but how long can we expect to keep a bottle in our cellar?
In my opinion a Coonawarra Cabernet will almost age better than any Cabernet in the world. A big call, but here is the reason why.
Coonawarra has a perfect even cool climate – which allows us to ripen cabernet successfully every year. This is because Coonawarra is very flat, so we get an even ripening of our grapes, whereas a lot of other wine regions have hills. Although hills look pretty, they tend to mean a less even ripening because these vineyards will have shadows on one side and lots of sun on the other.
And if you head further south from Coonawarra, vineyards tend to be too cold and struggle to ripen cabernet consistently every year. I know of vineyards just 40 minutes down the road in Mount Gambier and vineyards 30 minutes in Nangwarry that struggle to ripen cabernet consistently each year.
Therefore Coonawarra (with exceptions like 2011 which was a really wet year) is the last cool climate wine region in Australia where you ripen cabernet consistently year on year.
The longer growing periods allows us more time to develop complexity of flavours in our fruit, which means we get some lovely natural acids. Natural acid in wine is a key component for ageing.
The more natural acid that you can get from the fruit the better – rather than ‘fake acids’ that are added in the winemaking process. If a winemaker adds these acids later there is a chance the wine in time will become ‘porty’.
It is very rare for an aged Coonawarra Cabernet to look porty. They will instead have nice leather spice notes. This is what makes Cabernet King.
We tend to forget in Australia that Cabernet is by far the largest planted and drunk red variety the world, especially in Europe and America, whereas in Australia we love Shiraz.
However, in my opinion, tasting a great aged cabernet will convert even the most loyal shiraz drinker.
So when should I drink a Coonawarra Cabernet?
Take our 2016 Wanderlust Cabernet, 2016 was a really good year in Coonawarra and a perfect example of a year that should age well.
Currently our latest release 2016 Wanderlust is looking ‘tight’ – if you want to drink now try decanting it which will really help open up some of the flavours.
I would describe it like a bunch of flowers that have not opened up yet. At this stage it needs some age or decanting, but if you can leave it a little bit longer (3-10 years) you will see some chocolate and cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) notes develop.
Wanderlust’s ageing ability (like so many good Coonawarra cabernets for $25) is unique at its price in that it will get better over 10 years. For our premium cabernets, like Ambriel’s Gift and Head Honcho, you can expect it to get better for 20 years.
If you have not experienced an aged Coonawarra Cabernet – buy a 6 pack and open a bottle every 2 years for the next 10 years, believe me you will thank me.