Biological Farming Approach On A Large Scale
Product Range: NatraMin Cal-S
Region: Quirindi, NSW
You don’t often see cotton and chooks on the same property, but Geoff and his wife Sharon, along with their sons Jeremy and Daniel, are leading the way in a more biological approach to farming on the Liverpool Plains.
Their 800 hectare farming enterprise is complemented by 250 hectares of irrigation and 38,000 hens run as a free-range egg operation. The cropping country rotates between cotton, sorghum, wheat, barley and chickpeas.
It was inspiring to talk to Geoff and captivating when he leads with this statement;
“I take farming seriously and believe we are responsible to feed our fellow man. If you only farm for $$ then at what cost? A cost to your health or a cost to the health of the country?”
Geoff lost his father to chemical poisoning in 1986, hence prompting their family to ask questions and lead to a more biological approach to farming. Geoff is adamant that the livestock in the dirt are the most important component of his soil.
Geoff explained, “The soil microbes increase nutrient availability for the plant. Our focus is to cut back on our chemical use and when we have to use something that is detrimental to soil health, we apply things like humic or fulvic acid and products like NatraMin to offset the impact on the ‘good guys’ in the soil.”
We’re more comfortable farming this way. Our soil is our biggest asset and soil health in agriculture has declined, so we’re working with nature as much as we can to turn it around.”
When asked why NatraMin is part of the program, Geoff explains, “We’ve used NatraMin Cal-S for over 5 years as it delivers a wide variety of base minerals that we were looking for. The Cal-S suits our black soils and calcium is a key focus in our farming system for yield. Rather than increasing nitrogen we utilise more calcium for yield and in the process, we achieve a healthier crop, maybe not as ‘showy’, but with less pests and disease.”
We’re growing good crops with cotton, yielding up to 15.4 bales/ha and healthy crops with no insect pressure and not having to spray. Nature doesn’t produce sick plants, so when pest and disease show up, we have to ask – what have we done?”
The Brown’s egg operation also acts as a resource through a supply of chicken manure which is spread on the farming country, inoculated and incorporated at the same time NatraMin Cal-S is applied prior to planting.
At AgSolutions we have the privilege of dealing with a wide range of farming systems. NatraMin products are a source of minerals and trace minerals for some farmers, a gypsum alternative for others, a soil conditioner, a product with trace minerals and silica or a soil input that also delivers a soil microbe feed source for farming families like the Browns who recognise the significance of soil health and the livestock under our feet.