What is Mungalli Creek Dairy doing to continuously improve our farm so future generations have a living vibrant productive farm, not a burnt out husk reliant on expensive ag chemicals to stay afloat?
Primarily we are using biodynamic farming methods that build a healthy living well-structured soil, diverse productive pastures and healthy stock. This is achieved by spraying out the biodynamic preps regularly which essentially breathe life into the soil, stimulate soil biology and create humus which is the true sign of a healthy soil.
In the past our soil was heavily leached by high rainfall in a tropical climate and we have had to remineralise the soil with lime and dolomite and other rock dusts. On top of this we renovated the pastures and planted perennial grass legume based pastures and herbs. The weeds came by themselves and offer diversity and in places act as a cover for emerging rainforest regrowth.
We don’t use synthetic soluble fertilisers which stimulates the soil to produce beyond its capacity or ag chemicals which destroy soil biology and leave residues.
We have also fenced off all of the steep and rocky land and along the creeks and either replanted or allowed it to go back to trees. One third of the home farm has gone back to native rainforest and we have just planted a fruit and food forest around the chicken sheds.
In addition we have also planted shelter belts and shade trees for cow comfort and diversity.
Finally, this all value adds to our own milk. This means we can get a better price which in turn creates economic sustainability and confidence in the industry.
When bottled milk is cheaper than bottled water you know that there is something wrong with the system.
A few years ago it was often joked that it could be considered child abuse to leave the family dairy farm to your children, long hours, hard work, little or no pay. We are trying to change this image so that in the future dairying will be more than a great lifestyle it will be an appreciated well paid profession as well.
In my eyes, THAT is sustainability.