The Biological Farming Roundtable Podcast is for farmers and food consumers. Join host Nakala Maddock as she interviews regenerative farmers that are turning the tides in agriculture by reducing chemical inputs, rebuilding nature’s natural solar, mineral and water cycles and returning nutrient integrity back into the food chain.
Episode 19 – John Kempf - Author of Quality Agriculture
Today’s episode is a book review with John Kempf who has recently released a NEW book Quality Agriculture. This episode is FULL of new science in soil, animal, food and human health.
John is founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a plant nutrition and bio-stimulants consulting company in the US. He is an agronomist, host of the Regenerative Agriculture Podcast, a speaker and educator, and now an author.
In the book, John interviews a group of growers, consultants, and scientists who describe how to think and farm differently in order to produce high quality food, profitably. This conversation teases out these interviews and concepts including how pesticides and herbicides are tying up the micronutrients, how plants take up whole microbes as their main source of nutrition, what measurements are important in identifying quality food that is premium for human health and the role of cover crops.
It’s a book and conversation that has the potential to ignite BIG change in how we grow food.
If you're interested in purchasing the book or learning more from John please take a look at his website https://johnkempf.com/
Episode 18 - Bio-stimulants, Compost Extract, Grazing and Pasture Cropping with David and Ruth Read
Today’s conversation is with David and Ruth Read from Wootcote Farms, a 823 Ha regenerative grazing property in Perry Bridge Victoria.
We discuss the natural processes they use to build health and productivity on their farm and in their life. We talk through how to make a compost extract system, a liquid inject system and their successes with pasture cropping and grazing management. David and Ruth share their experiences with RCS, KLR Marketing and a whole range of experts and support systems that have taken the overwhelm out of their farming system and facilitated happiness in their lives.
Episode 17 - Regenerative Cropping & Genetic Sheep Breeding with Anthony Thomas, Co-hosted with Dr Charles Massy
Today’s conversation is with Anthony Thomas and with me co-hosting is Dr Charles Massy. We recorded this podcast in March when we were there for the Three Springs Biological Farming Roundtable.
Anthony and Geraldine Thomas farm approx. 8000Ha in the North Midlands of W.A at Three Springs. Anthony and Geraldine operate Hill Padua Polls, breeding multipurpose Merinos, and crop 1300 Ha regeneratively. Adam Thomas their great nephew share farms the rest of the cropping program.
Anthony has always been focused on soil health starting in the 1970s working with Agro Nutritional Research Laboratories run by the late Tom Arkley who analysed their soils and pastures. Arden Anderson has been another influence for Anthony.
For the past two years, Anthony’s cropping system has dropped fertiliser inputs down to 5 units of Nitrogen and 5 L of NutriSoil and he has been using NutriSoil and calcium across his pastures.
The combination of careful genetic breeding, low stress sheep management and working with nature has resulted in quiet, highly fertile sheep that do not require mulesing. His soils are visually increasing soil organic matter measuring decreased compaction.
Dr Charles Massy, my special co-host is a Monaro woolgrower, a scientist and a renowned author. His classic book The Australian Merino: The Story of a Nation is the account of how Merino sheep became one of the main supports of the Australian economy. More recently, Charles’ book Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, a New Earth exemplifies his role as an advocate for regenerative agriculture.
This is my enlightening conversation with Anthony Thomas and Dr Charles Massy.
Episode 16 - Regenerative Cane Farming
Today’s episode is with Cane Farmer, Michael Waring from Ingham, QLD. This podcast was recorded at the 2019 Regenerative Cane Farming Forum in March this year which is being repeated this year in March 2020 in Cairns. David Hardwick and Michael Waring are the contact for this event and details to register are below.
In this episode Michael tells us about what things he is doing to increase his soil heath including implementing controlled traffic, multispecies crops, and biological stimulants.
Michael has also done a course with Kym Kruse at RegenAG who teaches farmers how to make their own biofertilizers and he talks about how him and some farming friends have put in together to purchase a relocatable biofertilizer production plant.
We also talk about a great initiative called Catalyst that supports farmers to trial new farming initiatives and the positive steps Cane Farmers are taking to minimize run off from their farms into waterways, and of great public interest our beloved Great Barrier Reef.
Episode 15 – Building a local food market
Today’s episode is with father and son, Bob and Ian Congdon from Organic Woodstock Farm and Flour in Berrigan, NSW.
Ian and his wife Courtney met at the University of Melbourne while they were studying landscape management and geography. They both had a passion for agriculture and local food markets and saw farming as a means for environmental restoration and building healthy communities.
Being young adults that were not in the thick of busy farming and were able to do their own market research. Together they built an innovative business milling and selling direct Ian’s dads organic grain.
In 2016 they purchased a New American Stone Mill. They now are the sole buyers of Woodstock grain and sell the milled flour to bakers, restaurants, shops and families in the local region and across Melbourne. Their flour is as soft as baby’s powder and a delight to bake with. Their marketing strategy is simple and effective and their packaging is stylish and sustainable.
The farm is now moving beyond organic and trialling regenerative pasture cropping.
In past episodes we have talked about closing profit margins and commodity market restraints. These restrains can limit farmers from operating a value driven farming system that is good for the farmer, the consumer and the planet. This is a great story to get you thinking….but how could we?
Episode 14 – The importance of a value driven farming system
The importance of a value driven farming system.
In this episode Rod Fraser talks about values, states and perceptions and the importance of these in making great farming and life decisions.
Rod Fraser and Ellyn Martin are the directors of Business Growth Strategies. They provide a wholistic approach to help you build something special. Starting with personal coaching for the business owner to help think things through and have those important conversations on multiple levels. Then they focus on getting your whole team firing around a sound achievable strategic plan. Consciously designing your business for purpose, people, profit AND planet.
Our co-host David Hardwick is an Agroecologist who provides extension work in soil health.
David and his team provide extension projects, workshops and courses in soils, regenerative agriculture, agroecology, organics, composting, biofertilisers, regional food systems and rural cooperatives. They take an ecological and systems approach to Australia’s farming and food systems. From orchards to grazing, cropping to dairying; horticulture to sugarcane; they help build landholder capacity. They also carry out a range of consultancy services to clients across agriculture.
Great reads recommended:
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle.
The Intelligence Trap by David Robson.