We have always farmed with consideration for the fragile environment in which we operate, using mixed farming as a way of regenerating the soils through adaptive multi-paddock grazing on both permanent and planted leys which are reducing tillage and form part of the arable rotation. We plant cover crops and use minimum tillage for the arable crops whilst maintaining hedgerows, trees in our fields, and a swath of indigenous forest to protect our water catchment.
Ours is a low-input, grass-based dairy. The cows are moved between paddocks regularly and with time built in for regeneration. As they graze, the cows trample the dry grass and weeds into the soil which then decompose and enrich the soil through microbial action, sequestering carbon and maintaining—even improving—soil quality.
Crop rotation on the farm includes cover cropping so that our soils are constantly sequestering carbon as they are never left bare. Whilst we are predominantly a maize growing farm, we include crops such as beans, wheat, sunflower, sun hemp, grass seed, and canola in our rotation. Careful maintenance of the soil means that even in challengingly dry years, our soils are able to retain moisture while in wet years their excellent drainage properties come into play, enabling absorption of the high rainfall.