An early start for the attendees from Whittlesea and a pick up in Yea then took us on a three hour bus trip up the Hume Highway to Thurgoona.
Greengate Organic Farm is a learning facility connected to the NSW Riverina Institute of TAFE and is managed by Rob Fenton. Rob has spent 20 years learning and adapting the farm to ensure that the inputs are as low as possible, while producing high quality produce for farm gate sales.
The farm is also a teaching facility for students from around the world who come to learn about organic farming.
Some examples of the management practices Rob uses include designing systems that don’t require external energy inputs to produce products for sale;
- A leaky dam system that carries rain water across the farm
- swales that slow the movement of the water across paddocks
- Stock selection is based on low energy inputs, for example they stock Damara African Fat tail sheep which do not require sheering or crutching. Their rotational grazing program ensures they do not need to worm or vaccinate.
- Key-line patterned ploughing was used to cultivate the soil and help hold the water, but this was energy intensive, so now they use their pigs to cultivate the paddocks.
After our tour we were delighted to enjoy a barbecue lunch of Greengate organic lamb sausages, which were delicious!
For more information about the farm go to http://www.greengatefarm.com.au/