Our Farmers

David Lange

David LangeI am married to Liz who works as a Support Teacher Learning Difficulties. We have 3 teenage children, Kimberley ( working & studying in the field of Accountancy ) William ( Year 11)  & Charles ( Year 8).

We own a 760  ha property on the Moola Creek half way between Kaimkillenbun and Maclagan. About 330 ha is cultivation and the rest is made up of sandstone hills with grass and scrub.  The soil type varies greatly in the cultivation from a light loam to heavy sticky black clay.

We purchased  this property in 2001 after being brought out by the New Acland Coalmine. We were looking for a property  on which we could restart our Cut flower business growing Eucalypts for the florists. We needed a property with irrigation  to do this.

The cultivation was mainly let go back to grass , mainly couch grass with a good covering of African Boxthorn, Tree Pear and cotton bushes. We decided to plough to get rid of these before moving into a complete zero till system.  Summer grasses were a problem and we didn’t want to use atrazine or residual chemicals so we grew mainly winter crops ( Wheat & barley ).

Due to dry seasons we found that most of our income was coming from the cattle enterprise . It was not easy to establish Eucalypts during this period and we decided to put that on hold until the seasons improved (and they still haven’t).

In 2006 I heard about the concept of pasture cropping . I started off planting sugar drip dry in early spring. This failed when there was 10mm of rain, enough to germinate and get it up but not enough to carry it through to the next shower probably 6 weeks later.

In 2007 I met Matt Barton at an RCS  KIT day and was inspired to try grain crops under a pasture cropping system. Since then I have attended various workshops and field days to find out more about this cropping system.

At the moment I am converting all the cultivation over to pasture cropping system. Pasture cropping is  a system of planting an annual crop into a perennial grass without killing the perennials. For pasture cropping to work successfully, very close attention needs to be paid to the grazing part of the system.  This required changing our grazing system to a Time Controlled Holistic Grazing system, hence the move into cell grazing. Pasture cropping and cell grazing work hand in hand together to improve soil, environment and profit. In a mixed enterprise like ours we are now able to swap between cropping and grazing  without  a long  period in between the decision  and income. It makes it possible to achieve the aim of “ 100% green ground cover 100% of the time”.

Benefits of Pasture Cropping and Cell Grazing

  • Improved biological activity in the soil
  • Increasing soil carbon levels
  • Increasing the infiltration and water holding capacity of the soil
  • Improving soil structure
  • Better able to manage costs of production
  • Reducing the production risks of growing grain on lighter country
  • Stabilize creek banks and riparian areas
  • Turn around salinity
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