Andrew and Lisa, and their sons, use about 400 hectares of their farming operation to grow organic crops in the Thallon district of southern Queensland, Australia. On the rest of their farming operation they run Angus and Angus cross Charolais cattle and using minimal-till, conventional farming systems, produce forage and grain crops when the season permits. The climate is suited to winter cropping with a 500mm rainfall and plenty of sunshine.
The farm is in the northern cropping zone of Australia, which is hotter, dryer and more variable than the southern cropping region, thus maintaining cover for maximum rainfall infiltration and minimising evaporation and transpiration losses (loss of water vapour from the plants) is critical. In both their non-organic and organic systems they use crop rotation, varietal selection (as in choosing the best crop variety for soil and season), soil testing, planting density, row spacing, direction of furrows and integrated pest and weed management for developing sustainable production systems.
An opportunity arose to take up organic farming when they were looking at alternative methods of production, with less reliance on chemicals for weed control than on their conventionally farmed country. They grew their first crop of Certified A-Grade wheat for Kialla in 2021. They know that their ability to sustain organic production will depend on the seasons.
While Andrew & Lisa are newcomers to organic production, they have been on the land for most of their lives. Both of them grew up on dry land cropping and beef producing properties – Andrew in Central Queensland and Lisa in north-western NSW. After some study and moving about with jobs, they both worked for a large Australian beef company. Having always wanted to operate their own property, they worked toward this goal, which they were able to achieve in 2012. Their three sons also share their love of the land, choosing to gain other qualifications and experience in different industries and returning home to help on the farm at peak times and whenever possible. Andrew and Lisa are committed to assisting their sons to achieve their own life goals, and at the same time hope to grow their farming operation so it can support more members of their family to become involved in the business, if they wish.
Animal welfare and sustainable land management are valued goals in their grazing and farming operations. By working with and learning from other farmers, agronomists, scientists, industry research and trying new approaches they continue to try to improve both their organic and conventional farming systems. For the first time this year they are applying manure, from a feedlot in their district, to conventional crop land and are working on a system that will allow them to do the same on the organic country.
Andrew and Lisa hope you enjoy their produce.