Hayden and I (Tina) were both born on conventional dairy farms and after a stint overseas we returned to Hayden’s family farm and started working it as it had always been run, pushed to its limits getting every last blade of grass into the vat. During this time we had a little girl and those who have children will understand once you have children your perspective changes. We were run down, stressed, working like crazy people following the industries ‘best practice’ and we were really starting to question if dairying was the right thing for us. Always feeling on edge, pumping nitrogen fertiliser on, feeding palm kernel just didn’t feel right. Around this time my brother told me he had just read this amazing book called ‘Folks this Ain’t Normal’ by Joel Salatin. I read it, Hayden read it and we both had ah ha moments. Joel talks about the broken food system and how there is a better way to farm. By mimicking nature your farm can become a thriving ecosystem while being productive and profitable. It was time for us to change.
Many books later and another little boy. We started farming using regenerative methods. We significantly reduced our stocking numbers, got rid of all synthetic fertilisers, no more nasty sprays and chemicals, no brought in fed for our cows. Basically farming to what the land can actually carry. We have switched synthetics for a diverse sward of pasture filled with many different plants all doing different jobs and cycling different minerals. We have started an aggressive tree planting program to get these minerals cycling even better and the benefits have been immense. The life in our soil has exploded from no worms, to plenty every time you dig a hole. Carbon, moving deep down into our sub soil. More insect activity. We have just being through a drought and our farm has stayed green and continued to grow while neighbors have struggled. Finally and very importantly there has been a lot less stress on us and our animals.