Geoff initially went into organic farming after seeing the marked difference in price received for specialty organic grains. However he was also concerned about the quantity of chemicals he had to use on his conventional crops.
They were having to spray them every week. He says “I didn’t like having all those chemicals all over ourselves”, so he decided to do a bit of a life-change.
Geoff is a big fan of using compost as fertiliser to improve the health of his soil, and having experimented with types of compost and studied the results he believes it is the answer to growing better crops. He is very interested in the future prospects for organics in Australia and likes to work with and encourage other farmers to become organically certified.
Expressing an awareness of the health impacts of chemicals in our foods, Geoff sees organic farming as a form of ‘social good’: “a lot of health issues are coming back to the grains without the nutrients…if your ground is in good condition… the right elements in the soil… we shouldn’t have the ailments we have. That intrigues me – to see if I can help society in a better way.”
He now grows a variety of crops for Kialla, including wheat, purple wheat, maize, popcorn and chickpeas. Kialla has also bought linseed (also known as flaxseed) from Geoff, but this is a very challenging crop to grow organically. Not because it requires more nutrients or rain, but primarily because it is susceptible to a wide variety of pests and diseases, which can be very difficult to control using organic methods. Conventional linseed would be chemically treated to control such things.
Recently Geoff has also been growing KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat. Kialla has the Australian licence for supplying this wheat which is grown from very specific pure seed stock, and always organically. General khorasan wheat is not guaranteed free of hybridisation with other wheat species (which can sometimes occur naturally when different wheats are grown near each other).
Geoff’s family has been farming in the area since 1945. He says: “I hope to be able to hand the land onto my daughters in better shape than I got it.”