The farm is a certified organic beef and free-range egg producer. Chickens are grazed at up to 300 per hectare on a rotational basis in paddocks with mobile shelters. Maremma shepherd dogs are used for protection against foxes and other predators. Beef production is a separate income stream.
Baseline soil analysis commenced in Autumn 2016 and treatments in October. Good visual improvements in pasture growth occurred after good rain and an increase in soil temperature. Improved pasture production continued through Autumn and increased again with rain into May 2017.
Pasture dry matter gains of up to 23% were measured in May 2017. Feed analysis using NIR spectroscopy showed some variation in feed quality. Protein increased for treated areas, however, an increase in lignin suggested less digestibility. This translates into a protein benefit offset by an impediment for carbohydrates. This requires further investigation.
Property Size: 2330 hectares
Type: Free-Range Eggs
Location: Bundendore, NSW
Results: The increase in pasture quantity was supported by soil test results showing improvements in nutrient deficiencies.
The increase in pasture quantity was supported by soil test results showing improvements in nutrient deficiencies. The most significant change was a three to nine-fold increase in available phosphorous at 0-10cm and a one to two-fold increase at 10-30cm. There has also been improvement in nutrient availability, acidity and calcium. However, additional calcium is still needed to offset high magnesium concentrations.
This Case Study was jointly funded by ASM and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). NSW EPA provided financial support under their Organics Market Development Program to demonstrate the use of recycled organics on farms in NSW.