Case Study: Growing Pasture in the Riverina, NSW

Riverina farmer, Andrew Forrest, has transformed a tired farm into a highly productive property yielding as well as any in the district after adopting a minimum till biological farming system. Andrew, his wife, Sue, and his sister and brother -in-law, Kate and Kevin Hall, grow 800 hectares of wheat, barley, canola and field peas and 100 ha of oats for grazing and hay on adjoining properties, “Columbia Park” and “New Park” at Corobimilla, 20 kilometres south-west of Narrandera. A fifth generation farmer, Andrew grew up on his parents’ property near Corowa. The two couples bought “Columbia Park” in 1994 and then “New Park” seven years later, reuniting what was once a single farm. The soils on “Columbia Park” were worse for wear after many years of continuous conventional cropping. “The soil was powdery with no structure and would blow, wash and crust pretty easily, which is not uncommon in these …

Case Study: Wool and Grain, NSW

Southern NSW wool and grain growers, Alan and Ruth Wragge, have dramatically improved the health, yield and quality of their crops since they adopted biological farming techniques six years ago. The Wragges grow up to 600 hectares of oats, wheat, barley and rice on their 3,000 ha Deniliquin district property, “Yaloke”. They also run 3,000 medium wool Merino ewes and small numbers of store cattle. A fifth-generation farmer, Alan saw long-term problems developing with the continued use of conventional farming techniques. The heavy red clay to sandy loam soils were becoming compacted, his use of crop protection products was increasing, resistance was developing and animal health was deteriorating. The turning point came when a canola crop, which was shaping up to be his best ever, began to turn yellow. His agronomist diagnosed manganese toxicity and recommended ploughing the crop into the ground. Instead, Alan contacted Ivan Mitchell, a local agent …

BioAg Case Study: Broadacre Cropping and Pasture, NSW

Riverina grain grower, Wayne Hamblin, is earning handy premiums by meeting the growing demand for high energy, chemical-free grain from organic dairy farmers. Together with wife, Kim, and son, Chad, Wayne conducts a mixed cropping and livestock operation on “Big Tree”, Matong, about 70 km north-west of Wagga Wagga. The 1,600 hectare property has been in family hands for more than 100 years. The Hamblins grow about 640 hectares of wheat, oats, barley, vetch and clover under a three to five year cropping program followed by a three-year pasture phase. “Big Tree” is also home to 1,800 first-cross Dorper ewes, which are joined to Dorper rams for prime lamb production, and 30 Santa Gertrudis cross and Brangus cows, which are joined to Angus bulls to produce vealers. About six years ago, Wayne became concerned that he was mining the soil and leaving little for future generations. “The ground had become …