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Farmer’s Stories

When you’re doing the right thing for your land, your family
and the environment you can see and feel the difference.

Every farmer who transitions from an industrial chemical agriculture type approach toward their land and crop management, to that of life regenerating biological methods has a special story to tell.
Here they share in their own words how moving to an ethical, regenerative approach has made a difference to their farms, families and lives.
Scott McLean
As a Farmer I know that some of the little things make the biggest difference at the end of the day. What I have noticed on my farm since being a biological grower is that my crops and pastures are greener for so much longer now than they ever used to be. We had some pretty strong, hot dry winds this year in October and while other crops in the district were turning brown almost in front of your eyes, my crops were hanging on and staying green. It’s been amazing to see how much better a farm that is still green looks next to one that is dry and yellow. I’ve found the same thing with my pastures. Because I’m giving my pastures time to rest and recover they are coming back after being grazed, ‘beautifully’ giving me the chance to graze them again later in the year when I wouldn’t normally, If they were set stocked. And the cattle and the sheep really respond well to that, both in health and growth.
An example of holistic time controlled grazing using cattle on my farm. Photo taken 22/10/14, On the right side of the fence the pasture is regenerating after grazing and building soil carbon. On the left side of the fence the pasture hasn’t been grazed and is dead and oxidizing.
This photo was taken 15/10/15 after some strong hot and dry winds. On the right is my wheat crop using Bio-Integrity methods. On the left is the neighbors wheat crop grown conventionally.
Ian and Di Haggerty

Perhaps the most critical thing that we have noticed since developing our farming system along biological lines is the simplicity of operation. With improving soil structure and protection for newly germinating seedlings with excellent rhizosheath development we find that we can begin our seeding programme when we are ready and continue the programme without having to pull up due to the soil being too dry or hard to seed well. We have a large sowing programme spread over 3 distinct locations with 200 kilometres from the Northern to Southern end, so time efficiency is imperative at seeding time and wheels need to keep turning. We are able to put in more hectares, at a lower cost with less time commitment. The improved friability of the soil is also noticeable with less fuel useage and less wheel slip at seeding time ( the beauty of having these things monitored with modern machinery!!) Weed management is simplified and no use of fungicides or pesticides means minimal passes over the paddock for crop management purposes. Once sown, most of the work is done by the microbiological system in the soil and on the plant leaf surfaces. Some of the most exciting things have been seeing the return of plant and grass species that we have not seen on the property before and all the larger beneficial insects and spiders in the paddock. We are now seeing the proliferation of summer active grasses without spring rain providing green feed for the livestock almost all year round despite rainfall patterns and enabling opportunity to continue pumping carbon into the soil for the bulk of the year, something we only dreamed about some five years ago….

Soil carbon at work. Best practise industrial agriculture on left, Bio-Integrity Growers on right –  Same soil type, sowing time, variety, rainfall. Different water holding capacity and water use capability.
Seedling rhizosheath – Wheat seedling not yet reached the ground surface for photosynthetic assistance, putting most energy into root development and exudates to form substantial rhizosheath and form microbial relationships very early in its growth phase.
Naturally balanced sheep manure provides excellent source of nutrient cycling for fungi back to plants.
More stories coming soon…