On The Land

14 April, 2023

Sustainable farming new way on the land

AUSTRALIAN farmers are increasingly adopting additional sustainable farming practices as they seek to improve farm productivity while safeguarding their land for future generations.

Sustainable farming new way on the land - feature photo

New data from CommBank reveals a 182 per cent increase in Agri Green Loan inquiries since launching in November 2021, with farmers in New South Wales (+340 per cent) and Victoria (+154 per cent) leading the charge.

Among the many farmers reaping the benefits of regenerative farming are Gippsland farmers Narelle and Mark Mc-Donald, who have run a successful beef on dairy operation complemented by regenerative practices for more than 10 years.

The McDonalds recently used a CommBank Agri Green Loan to support a multi-species pasture renovation program to restore the soil quality on their recently purchased farm, to enhance their business for the long term.

CBA also supported the farm to diversify its income through beef on dairy, which is a practice that addresses a long-standing issue within the dairy industry related to surplus calves.

The McDonalds cross their Friesian dairy cows with Wagyu bulls, which are lighter and make for easier calving. The use of genomic testing has helped to identify the top dairy cows to breed with sexed semen. The first-generation female calves are reared as part of the dairy herd, and the remaining males calves are reared on farm and sold into the beef market.

The regenerative farming philosophy adopted by the McDonalds significantly minimises the use of sprays and fertilisers.

“As dairy farmers, our margins have been eroded over time, so we’ve utilised regenerative farming to reduce our cost of production through the decrease in synthetic inputs,” said Mr McDonald.

“We now manufacture our own organic compost and use occasional supplements in response to our system’s needs to lift the measured health of pastures, which underpins the nutrient density of our produce.

“We’re not just committed to creating a more profitable and productive farm, we are trying to create a better environment, healthier food, and leave something better for the future.”


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