Case Study: Mixed Farming in the Riverina, NSW

Riverina mixed farmer, Drew Vidler, has noted a marked improvement in the health of his Merino sheep and the quality of their wool since he adopted a minimum-till biological farming system eight years ago. Together with wife, Janelle, and children, Jock, Harrison and Alexandra, Drew runs 1200 Merino ewes on 1600 hectares of undulating sandy loam soils at “Coro”, Corobimilla, 20 kilometres south-west of Narrandera. Half the property is sown to lucerne and clover-based pastures while the remainder grows wheat, canola, barley and lupins. “When my family came here 46 years ago here, the country was tired, with hard-setting, cloddy soils,” Drew said. “Like everyone else in the area, they grew wheat. In those days, it seemed that the more they cultivated the better things got – but they didn’t know when to stop.” Drew’s father realised that the country was in trouble. In an effort to build up organic …

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 …