Mark chose to convert to organic dairying, without the use of chemicals, because he identiﬁed it as a sustainable farming method which would result in an overall healthier lifestyle for their cows, themselves and their consumers. The anticipated higher price for their premium milk was also considered beneﬁcial to the journey they were about to embark on.
The ﬁrst ﬁve years of their organic farming practices were difficult, as the cows had to adjust to the new system and the farm had to regenerate. However, the following 10 years has seen the organic matter in the soil more than triple, this in turn stabilises water retention in the humus – which promotes healthier and quicker regrowth of the organic feed used in the grazing rotation. This nutrient rich food results in increased healthy milk production levels.
Mark also studied bio-dynamic farming methods and adopted a composting practice with the intention of increasing the organic matter in the soil. The compost contains a wide variety of elements brought by the manure of the grazing dairy cows, and veriﬁed plant matter used on the farm – this is a rich source of beneﬁcial microbes from the farm which are then put back on the farm.
Interestingly, the Cape Barren Geese have always identiﬁed Mulgundawa Dairy as a special piece of land, and have made it their home for the past 50 years. They migrate here for 9 months of the year, with some of the older birds staying all year round. They devour the organic pasture, and Mark has had to adjust farming strategies to co-exist with them – all of which comes at a conservation cost.