Friday, January 7, 2011

Simple Compost

Today I met David and Catherine Harvey – both Nuffield scholars with three charming daughters who live on a peninsula near Adelaide. They have a biodynamic organic dairy herd which Catherine – a fully qualified vet practices Homeopathy on with Mastitis results equivalent to conventional systems. They grow lucerne and some cereals and are constantly fighting rising salinity. David and Catherine have returned to ploughing when the lucerne paddocks become compacted which helps bury insect eggs and aerates the soil, it has also revolutionised their weed control. The Harveys make ‘easy compost’ from their dairy manure buy simply heaping it and turning it according to temperature with their front end loader, a water hose runs across the top to moisten the mix when necessary. By far the simplest most low cost compost system I have seen and the product looked really good with no bad smell – so a good option I think.

David and Catherine soil is high Mag – low calcium and high Sodium (19%) with organic matters now raised to 3.5%. David and Catherine’s biodynamic farming involves mixing biological fertiliser products and biodynamic preparations and spraying these on the crops.

David and Catherine shared their library with me - such an impressive collection of both old and new agricultural literature – my new reading list is born! They were also kind enough to share some of their home made goodies with me – the whole family are extremely talented cooks with such luxuries as homemade ice cream, sorbet, bread and veggies all from their own farm I’ll be chasing Mr Peck for the best Nuffield Daily Liveweight Gain!