We run an integrated farm on 900 acres of land in Wymah, along the Murray River on the NSW border. Our property is surrounded by lush national parks that provide shade and moisture to the soil.
Wymah Valley sits between the Murray River just where Lake Hume begins and the Woomargama State Forest. We’re in granite country, and coupled with a Mediterranean climate, it becomes great olive country too. Our pasture fed slow growing sheep also like it and this compliments the olives. We have been farming organically for over 11 years.
Along with organic lamb we also grow olives and sell both products through farmers’ markets, restaurants and direct to the public through our website. It’s an ongoing process to minimise our input on the farm, we use the waste from growing stock to make bulk compost and use the brine from olives to replenish sheep with vinegar and salt. They recognise the nutritional properties of the brine and enjoy it.
We understock our paddocks so that the level of carbon in the soil will improve, so that we can ensure that the soil in our paddocks is rated a high status by the APAL. Our main goal is to work with the soil rather than against it. Healthy soil equals healthy food and it’s sustainable for future generations. We practice rotational grazing and use a sheep dog to guard fence lines. The sheep improve the Olive Grove soil as part of rotational grazing and the wastes from the Olive Unit provide licks for the sheep that reduces their CO2 omissions and provides them with nutrient enriched brine and oil filter waste.
Older unused hay also goes to the Olive Grove, adding to the carbon storage of the farm and making great soil. We are lucky that we back onto a national park, which provides shading and moisture to the soil. We have nature corridors that cover 100 acres with native vegetation and nutritious plants. We have also fenced off a creek that runs throughout the property to prevent erosion.
Our animal’s welfare is very important to us; we take our sheep to the abattoir ourselves and try to get them in at night so that they can be processed first thing in the morning. Sheep are herd animals and it is important that they feel comfortable with the person that is taking them from their home to the abattoir.
Overall we work towards maintaining the land by putting mineral inputs into the soil, the use of seaweed as sheep lick and soil conditioner, modified rotational grazing, recycling of waste material, bulk onsite composting, tree pruning and mow-mulching of pruning wastes, tree break maintenance, stock worm tests, tree health checks, caring of older stock, production of replacement stock and a stock breeding program.
We have also been a part of Landcare for over 40 years, we try to utilise grants where possible to revitalise the land. The key to sustainable farming starts with the soil. Once the soil is healthy the rest will fall into place.
Read more farmer storiesLearn more about this farmer
Head over to our Facebook page for regular updates on what's happening at Wymah.