Roy, Boodua, Qld
Situated outside Boodua on the beautiful Darling Downs, Roy’s farm has been in the family for 5 generations and is living testament to their long held beliefs that the environment and farming can co-exist in harmony.
While they’ve been farming here for over 100 years, it’s only in the last 30 years that they’ve been producing organic eggs, grain, beef cattle and lucerne, on 4 different farms in the district, which employ more than 20 local people.
The original farm started out as dairying and diversified over to poultry, due to Roy’s mother’s love of chickens. Their children Roxanne, Tracey and Damien (and their families) then further expanded the business, purchasing neighbouring farms and establishing these farms as certified organic.
Kialla’s sister company Aus Organics provides chicken feed for the egg-laying hens. The chickens’ manure is used as compost on the crops. The crops then end up back at Kialla creating a closed cycle of organic inputs and outputs.
Roy and family grow buckwheat, popcorn, sorghum and barley for Kialla.
Buckwheat is a rotational crop and it will be planted in summer. While it can be challenging to grow it well, it provides all kinds of benefits, such as soil coverage, weed suppression, and loosening of top soil. All of which are very useful for organic farmers.
Buckwheat is the kind of crop that thrives in low-fertility soils, helping to fortify them for later crops. The roots of the plants produce mild acids that release nutrients from the soil, while also activating slow-release organic fertilisers, such as rock phosphate. This phosphorus in the soil would be otherwise unavailable to most grain crops. However buckwheat is able to extract it so that after the growth cycle, as the crop residue breaks down, it releases these nutrients back into the soil for later crops.
Buckwheat’s dense, fibrous roots cluster in the top 25cm of soil, providing a large root surface area for nutrient uptake. These abundant, fine roots, not only suppress the growth of weeds, they also leave the topsoil loose and friable after only minimal tillage, making it a great mid-summer soil conditioner preceding winter crops such as wheat and barley.
It’s abundant white flowers provide nectar for pollinators and beneficial insects (eg: hover flies , predatory wasps, minute pirate bugs, insidious flower bugs, and lady beetles), that attack or parasitise aphids, mites, and other pests. This provides pest control and prevents the need for chemical pesticides.