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Biological Farming Open Day

Biological Farming Open Day

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When:

  • Fri 18 May ’12, 9:45am – 3:30pm

Where:

Kokako Vineyard, 680 Ohiti Road, Fernhill, Hawke's Bay / Gisborne

Restrictions:

All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

All welcome.

Biological farming is taking off around the country as farmers and growers discover the rewards from improving their soils. This interactive day will offer practical tips and insights from leading farming practitioners.

Whether your focus is on sheep, beef, dairy, viticulture, horticulture or market gardening, there will be something on offer here to help stimulate your thinking around the benefits of regenerative soil practices.

Property background:
90 ha Kokako Vineyard grows mixed varietals for Delegats and Villa Maria. The vineyard is adopting a range of approaches across the blocks, offering a rare opportunity for comparisons.

The vineyard manager, Bruce Nimon, has been impressed with the biological approach, finding more 'even' canopy and shoot growth, with huge reductions in pest or disease issues and fewer deficiencies evident.

Kokako Vineyard made the shift toward biological methods in 2007 as they found the traditional viticulture approach and a history of cropping had lead to problem weeds, high fertiliser input requirements, high disease pressure and stressed problem blocks.

Kokako is seeing huge benefits from the approach; addressing economic and ecological outcomes. The fruit is destined for Super Premium labels and the winemakers have complimented Bruce on clean fruit with well-balanced acids and good varietals presentation.

The use of glyphosate has been dramatically reduced across the entire vineyard and Bruce is finding "we are getting better weed suppression and our spray strips are not ‘sour’ and covered in mosses. We seem to be encouraging biology and the worm activity is very obvious. In fact worm counts are up and we have nice active healthy feeder root development.” Overall this strategy results in cost reduction and improved soil health.

A wide range of beneficial species have also been planted on boundaries in nectar producing natives as well as sowing buckwheat and phacelia in some of the rows throughout the vineyard.

Bruce is convinced that international markets will increasingly demand ‘zero residuals’. “To me biological production makes sense. I think we will have no choice in the future so I’m happy to embrace sustainable practices now. There’s no downside”.

Other speakers:

John Kamp, sheep and beef farmer, will talk about his journey with the biological approach and the value of building natural capital.

Nicole Masters, Integrity Soils, will outline the biological farming approach, plus a soil profile assessment.

Topics covered include:

Defining biological farming

Diverse understory mixes

The value of our natural capital

Tools to assess soil health

Contact info@biologicalfarmers.co.nz or speak to Nicole on 0274 523 900 to register your place. There is no cost for attendance, please bring your own lunch.

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