Our farming practices have been under the custodianship of Dan McCaul since the late 70s, his disciplines have been shaped from his strong belief in the natural systems which operate here on our small farm. Both Dan and Krystyna McCaul have a philosophy of these natural systems being able to support our Jersey herd, our grazing animals with minimal inputs. We do not use chemicals, pesticides or herbicides on our grazing lands, and aim to have a zero use policy on use of antibiotics with our cattle.
We promote natural farming whereby a rich biome and biodiversity exists alongside our production system, and support this with restorative integrated farm planning. This allows us to operate our vertically integrated system within the framework of an organic farm (non certified).
The next generation of the family are committed to following Dan’s methods, and are integrating regenerative agriculture, a holistic system of land management principles and practices that increase biodiversity, enrich soils, improve watersheds and enhance ecosystem services to the land. Our farm consists of a unique soil profile – based on 250 million year old Permian glacial deposits and some quartzite ridges from the late Paleozoic era, also consisting of ancient ironstone laterites which may be even older.
The management goal of our dairy farm is to allow seasonal variations to dictate our grazing patterns, and to allow our paddocks resting periods without grazing, to ensure regeneration. We graze our cows on a mixture of pasture varieties, and the renovation of pasture is a continual strategy to ensure a balance of subterranean clover and rye grass is achieved, as well as a few other species of grass, including cocksfoot, fescue, phalaris and kikuyu grasses which help stabilise soils throughout the drier periods of the year. Our Jersey herd receive a fresh patch of pasture after each milking, both in the morning and the evening, this enables them to eat their required 20-22 kg of dry matter each day.
Our dairy farm consists of 270 acres (111 hectares), the majority is used for dry land grazing, with the ability to irrigate six hectares during the summer. We farm with the seasons and natural rainfall is our precious resource. We watch a number of weather reports, and this allows us to predict the autumn rainfall providing a start to the annual cycle. The farm is positioned on the upper catchment of the Currency Creek tributary and the rainfall average is around 966 ml per year, a benefit of being position in the central Fleurieu Peninsula. This volume of rain allows us to graze within the temperate growing season and the spring provides the full flush of the season. We capture the spring surplus by making hay and silage (fermented hay) extending the availability and nutritional value of the pasture into the summer and throughout the autumn. We have a keen interest in monitoring the health of our soil and pasture, and are continuing to revegetate the natural landscape with native trees, to provide shelter and habitat.
– Charles Massy