Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sustainable Farming

The Freeranger Egg Farm was one of five farms that participated in a study backed by the Australian Government’s Envirofund program. It found that free range farming practices are viable and have minimal impacts on the environment.
The study, carried out on properties in the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority area showed that properly managed free range egg farms have many benefits - including long term sustainability. The study, conducted by an independent agronomist, found that our production techniques were sustainable and showed that our low stocking density provided overall cost benefits.
At the Freeranger Farm we believe that low density production is the key to sustainability. “It doesn’t make any real difference whether you are running cattle, sheep or chooks, if your stocking rate is too high you will run into trouble” is our philosophy.
It’s hard to justify European farming practices in many parts of Australia – they simply don’t work with our soil types and climate.
The property is demonstrating that primary production can be commercially viable without compromising ecological values and that cost-effective farming, environmental protection and enhancing species biodiversity are not mutually exclusive. Farm production includes chemical-free beef and lamb, wool for hand spinning and free range eggs from hens in mobile roosts. Regular movement of the roost houses provides natural nutrients to maintain lush grass growth with no additional inputs, also encouraging the spread of native grasses. As our soil is slightly acidic, it is ideally suited to growing native pasture - so why spend money trying to turn the soil into something that favours exotic species lkike ryegrass and clover?
Activities on the property have been designed to minimise off-site impacts. All creeks lines are vegetated to maintain water quality run off into Bass River and our management ensures the long term sustainability of our farming activities.

PhilWestwood

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