Case Study: Grain, Ganmain NSW

While other farmers are struggling to cope with soaring fertiliser prices, Riverina grain grower, Peter Eisenhauer, has cut costs and lifted grain yields and quality after switching to a no-till biological farming system. A sixth generation farmer, Peter and his wife, Gay, grow wheat, barley, oats and grain legumes on 400 hectares of red loam soils at “Glen Iris”, Ganmain, about 50 kilometres north-west of Wagga Wagga. Sheep and cattle run intermittently on non-arable country. After more than 50 years of conventional European-style cropping practices, Peter said his property’s soils had become powdery and formless, leading to soil compaction, stagnant yields and an endemic weed problem, particularly silver grass and oxalis. “We’d plant a crop and capeweed and every other weed would come up,” Peter said. “There was something right out of balance.” In his search for solutions, Peter attended countless field days and seminars, almost completed a Bachelor of …

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 …

Case Study: Pasture and Grain, Trangie NSW

An on-farm trial conducted by central NSW lamb and grain grower, Wayne Brabrook, has conclusively shown that a revolutionary biological soil nutrition program represents a real and profitable alternative to conventional techniques. Adopting the program four years ago, Wayne has seen the gross margins from his lamb fattening and cropping enterprises soar to $646/ha and $423/ha, respectively. The Brabrook family – Wayne and his wife, Narelle, and Wayne’s parents, Victor and Colleen – operate a mixed farming operation on two adjoining properties, “Tallengar” and “West Harnham”, in the Trangie district. Depending on the year, 60 percent of their 1,200 hectare aggregation is sown to wheat, barley, oats and lupins. In addition, they buy up to 7,000 first and second-cross lambs each year which are grown out to 45–55 kg on lucerne pastures and cereal stubble. Wayne began exploring alternative farming systems about six years ago. “Our soils, which had no …

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 …

Hart Field-Site Trial | Balance & Grow | SA 2013

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In 2013, an N and P supplement and replacement trial was conducted at the Hart Field-Site in South Australia. The site, consisting of 40 hectares of sandy clay loam soils and an average rainfall of 400mm is the home of the annual Hard Field Day, first held in 1982. Given the hot dry spring experienced, yields from the trial were generally below expectations and none of the 16 different treatments produced any significant increase in yield. The only treatment that had any significant impact on protein (which averaged between 10.0% and 10.5%) was BioAg’s Balance & Grow, which applied at 2l/ha produced protein of 12.8%. This represents a quality increase from ASW to Prime Hard, or in dollar terms an increase of at least $40/tonne based on GrainCorp contracted prices for Southern NSW at the end of May. Balance & Grow also came in with the lowest percentage of screenings. …