Home' Smart Farmer : July 2010 Contents more cheaply and we make more
Quentin says selling on-farm to
increase profits, bthe control they
have over their final product is cru-
For instance, if their produce is
coming towards the end of its life,
they can personally make the deci-
sion to value-add it through drying
or condiment making, rather than
leaving it on the shelf for people to
"Reduced transport costs, com-
mand over the wholesale price and
not having to pay commission adds
value to the product, but being able
to follow it from paddock to plate is
the biggest advantage," Quentin
The commercial crops are an
essential part of Nirvana's income,
but tourism and education are also
becoming increasingly popular and
are growing sections of the business.
"The tourism and educational ele-
ments of Nirvana farm have been
especially important in recent years
because they can support the farm if
agricultural income falls away,"
"It is a great aspect of the business
because we get to use all our skills
while giving the information to peo-
ple and encouraging them to use it."
Quentin believes the educational
programs are becoming more and
more popular because there has
been a generational skip of the
knowledge used on places such as
More and more children are being
introduced to this type of education
by their parents and schools, and
Nirvana is the perfect living class-
room for them.
Educational programs include
topics such as composting and
mulching, vegetable growing, organ-
ic fruit, poultry keeping and soil
improvement, and gives those
attending practical, hands-on
to achieve realistic goals.
But Quentin says biodynam
not for everybody becau
requires a specific mindset
long-term dedication to good
"Biodynamic farming prod
more drought-tolerant and
does not happen overnight," he said.
"There were good biodynamic
practitioners in Australia doing bet-
ter than most and suffering the highs
and lows better, so there must be
something about it.
"I've stuck with it for more than
20 years and we are going well now.
"It is a sustainable income. If I
wasn't doing something right I
wouldn't still be here. It's paying for
a Nirvana in paradise
• from previous page
THE introduction of carbon credits for
sequestering carbon into the soils is
now on the political agenda and may
well herald a golden era for agricul-
and politicians are slowly
t there is simply no alter-
o reward and motivate
ndertake this urgent task.
re world were to reduce
sions by 100 per cent
, in 200 years time we
reduced atmospheric CO2
els found in our atmos-
mus is the single most
rtant determinant of suc-
n high production agricul-
t seems a remarkable
of luck that we are des-
be paid to increase our
ty via payment for seques-
ears ago, the National
ned the reason for so
loans in the rural sector.
nvolving several hundred
n the Hillston region of
chers were seeking to
he key criteria for financial
n embarking on a new
d that soil carbon was the
ess success and they went
as far as to link levels of organic mat-
ter to farm value.
If one property featured soils with
1.4 per cent organic matter and
another had soils averaging 1.6pc,
that extra 0.2pc increased land value
accordingly, and it was suggested that
future loans should be evaluated on
the basis of carbon based productive
potential. The benefits of organic mat-
ter are manyfold.
Water is an increasingly scarce
resource and it is so much more effec-
tive to store water in humus - which
holds its own weight in moisture -
than in dams where evaporation is
massive and there is a significant car-
bon footprint in delivering the water
to the crop.
The Rodale Institute in the US has
researched carbon-building for the
past 20 years. It has shown that a
combination of minimum till, compost
and cover crops can steadily build soil
carbon. They are behind the sugges-
tion that there should be a payment of
$US250 a hectare for every 0.15pc
increase in organic matter.
Other key humus building strategies
include the use of microbial inoculums
and the utilisation of humates.
Soil-life analysis around the globe
reveals that most soils are lacking cel-
lulose digesting fungi.
It is ridiculously simple and inexpen-
sive to brew these creatures and rein-
troduce them to the soil. Similarly, we
have seen remarkable results with the
use of humates to trigger humus
• Need to know more? Bio-Tech
Organics 08 8380 8554 or John
Norton 0412 305 158.
Quentin Jones sees biodynamic
farming as an essential lifestyle
Soil carbon stores success
• Need to know more? Educational programs range from $45 to 110$ and run
from 3 -7 hours. Guided tours of Nirvana are available, with prices starting at $5
for students and $7 for adults. Deb Cantrill and Quentin Jones 08 8339 2519,
email@example.com or www.nirvanaorganicfarm.blogspot.com
"Eco-Ag...Way to Grow!"
Shop 5, Geradis Building,
Old Port Road, Pt Wakefield,
PO Box 526
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Fax: 08 8380 8354
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