LATEST

Windbreaks and ground cover the key to beneficial wasps on farms

Windbreaks and ground cover the key to beneficial wasps on farms

A shelterbelt with significant ground cover. Farms with windbreaks with significant areas of ground cover vegetation have been shown to attract wasps that are beneficial to agricultural pest control, according to a new study from the University of Melbourne PhD candidate Ian Smith said while researchers have known that shelterbelts or windbreaks provide wind reduction, …. more

NEWS

Windbreaks and ground cover the key to beneficial wasps on farms

Windbreaks and ground cover the key to beneficial wasps on farms

A shelterbelt with significant ground cover. Farms with windbreaks with significant areas of ground cover vegetation have been shown to attract wasps that are beneficial to agricultural pest control, according to a new study from the University of Melbourne PhD candidate Ian Smith said while researchers have known that shelterbelts or windbreaks provide wind reduction, …. more

AGRICULTURE

Inspiring farm of the future

Inspiring farm of the future

LEADING Sunshine Coast arborist Leo Phelan is a man with many hats but perhaps the hat that fits best is that of innovator and inventor. His work in regenerating old sugar cane land into a viable demonstration farm on an 8.5 hectare block at Rosemount, near Nambour on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, has the potential …. more

INTERNATIONAL

Trade is better than aid

Trade is better than aid

Andre Leu, IFOAM President (left), with Zambia’s First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, patron of Organic Producers and Processers Association of Zambia (OPPAZ). THE world trade fair, BioFach, has a very important role in the global organic sector, according to one of the event’s major sponsors, IFOAM (the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements) president Andre …. more

ON FARM

Feijoa growers reaping rewards

Feijoa growers reaping rewards

Prime eating fruit is netted to prevent fruit flies from spoiling the crop.  LAST year was a busy, successful and milestone year for Queensland certified organic feijoa farmers Peter Heineger and Sally Hookey of Hinterland Feijoas at Belli Park on the Sunshine Coast. After their first two years of commercial production the couple doubled their … …. more

INNOVATION

Organic farmers have always been innovators

Organic farmers have always been innovators

Tim Marshall, organic grower, consultant and author. EARLY pioneers of organic worked without the support of research institutions and until recently, as niche producers, there were few commercial products available. Organic farmers were often early adopters and developers of new systems. They led the way with many legume and small seed products, driven by the … …. more

COMMENT

Too clever for our own good?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Dear Editor, Have we become too clever for our own good? It cannot be denied that science has enabled mankind to reach a remarkable stage of development, but has it brought with it, a down side? As a child working on a farm just after The Second World War, wheat was …. more

GMOs in Kenya: A red herring for agricultural development policy

KENYAN MPs are calling to lift the national ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) only two years after then President Kibaki sanctioned restrictions on their production and importation. The potential of GM products as a food security solution is unclear, however, and serves as a headline grabbing distraction from the raft of structural problems that compound risks to …. more

HEALTH

New research shows gene fault adds to melanoma risk

AN international research project co-funded by Cancer Council Queensland has identified a gene mutation that puts people at an extremely high risk of developing melanoma. The research team, including scientists from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, found mutations in the POT1 gene caused a hereditary form of melanoma. Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Kim Ryan said …. more

MARKETING

Tips to lift stall presence at festivals and markets

REGIONAL home-grown food producers are increasingly turning to farmers’ markets and festivals to showcase their wares, but if their presentation, preparation and product lines are ad-hoc, they waste valuable opportunities in that marketplace. While a farmer may believe he has the freshest and best produce and value-added products to promote and sell, his stall and …. more

SOIL SCIENCE

Ignore silica at your risk

Undoubtedly silicon is the most thoroughly ignored element in agriculture, to say nothing of biology in general. Yet, it is more important than calcium because without silicon, calcium is not contained and transported in either plants or animals. Of course, in agriculture we never encounter silicon, calcium or any other element in their pure form. …. more

PROFILE

HAAS – 15 years in the chair

HAAS – 15 years in the chair

Doug Haas – his leadership style – his clear direction, ability to cut to the chase, unshakable dedication and intolerance of poor attitudes – has contributed greatly to Australian Organic’s success.  AUSTRALIAN Organic (formerly Biological Farmers of Australia, BFA) was less than 10 years old in the mid-1990s and organics was a cottage industry, giving …. more

LANDCARE

Murtho salt scheme reduces River Murray salinity

Murtho salt scheme reduces River Murray salinity

Closeup of water outlet at salt interception scheme, Buronga NSW. Photo: MDBA. A SALT interception scheme designed to stop about 36,000 tonnes of salt from entering the River Murray has been launched in South Australia. The $30 million scheme will intercept highly saline groundwater and prevent it from entering the River Murray and floodplain, bringing down salinity …. more

VITICULTURE

Erl Happ – a man with a passion (or two)

Erl Happ – a man with a passion (or two)

Happ’s ducks help reduce the bug and snail populations. STEP onto the Happ’s bushland property and there is serenity. The studio, wine cellar door, pottery displays and house nestle into a hill and flow towards the vineyard and valley. Even early on a busy Saturday morning Erl Happ’s calm demeanour is evident. But, beneath the …. more

Value Adding

Outstanding quality is seen as Fat Hen Farm’s business niche

Outstanding quality is seen as  Fat Hen Farm’s business niche

Alan and Bronwyn Wood, owners and operators of Fat Hen Farm at Kilkivan in Queensland’s South Burnett region. THE transition from globetrotting city slickers to weed-pulling, hard-working, boot-wearing country folk is very much complete for Alan and Bronwyn Wood, owners and operators of Fat Hen Farm at Kilkivan in Queensland’s South Burnett region. Both hail …. more

HORTICULTURE

Blueberries prove just too tasty for customers

Blueberries prove just too tasty for customers

PEACHESTER blueberry growers Dean and Helen Bryant, pictured above, have many repeat customers for their organic, biodynamic, big juicy blueberries. In fact, often there is less than a five-minute turnaround before customers are back for more! The couple sell their much-in-demand produce, marketed as Brymac Blueberries, only to local restaurants and distributors and from their …. more

ORGANICS / BIODYNAMICS

Consider biodynamics

Consider biodynamics

Hugh Lovel, farmer, multidisciplinary scientist, author and educator. VITICULTURE and dairy are two of the best areas of agriculture for revealing the virtues of biodynamics – viticulture because quality is what wine excellence is all about and dairy because every tank of milk is tested for quality. Biodynamics is about quality and self-sufficiency. Both depend …. more

Ag Events

ABC to feature Ylad’s compost production

IN late 2013 YLAD Living Soils were contacted by the Gardening Australia team regarding the possibility of filming a story with Angus Stewart on YLAD’s Humus Compost production and their biological farming practices. ABC Gardening had heard from numerous sources about what impressive compost was being produced and how the Daly’s had transformed their soils …. more

ECOLOGY

The effects of artificial lighting on marine turtles

The effects of artificial lighting on marine turtles

Monitoring Turtle Loggerhead nesting. THE Coolum Coast Care turtle group, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, has seen the negative effects artificial lighting has on endangered, nesting, Marine Turtles and Turtle Hatchlings first-hand over the past seven years of collecting important turtle nesting data on the Coast. The group recently attended a Marine Turtle Training day with …. more

BUSINESS

Its time to assess inputs

WITH the autumn season upon us it is time for farmers to seriously consider whether their traditional fertiliser regimes have really been working for them. Farmers have only recently begun appreciating the integral role of sulphur in their farm’s nutrient makeup. Sulphur is a vitally important component to form amino acids in crops and pastures …. more

BOOKS

The Albrecht Papers Vol 1 Foundation Concepts by Dr William A Albrecht, Ph D.

The Albrecht Papers are written by Dr. William A. Albrecht, professor of soils at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture. The backbone of Albrecht’s life’s research. Includes papers explaining soil balancing, the role of major and minor micro-nutrients in the soil, soil fertility’s link to weed, insect and disease problems, and more. All serious …. more

FOOD & WINE

Dynamic, organic duo to present at Slow Food Noosa’s breakfast

Dynamic, organic duo to present at Slow Food Noosa’s breakfast

Gary Hands from Kookaburra Organics. IF YOU’VE ever wondered what the fuss is about organic produce and the difference it can make to your life, don’t miss Slow Food Noosa’s next breakfast featuring local farmer Gary Hands from Kookaburra Organics and farmer/cook/writer Lizzie Moult from blog “Strayed from the Table”. The dynamic duo will unearth …. more