IT was almost 30 years ago when Mallanganee farmer Stuart Larsson turned to organics, creating a change that would see his family business embrace sustainable farming practices using a self-developed method of ‘softer farming’.
The diminishing returns on artificial fertiliser and chemical systems, combined with the increased financial and health related costs forced the farmer to consider a back to basics approach.
“Like most people of my generation, I grew up with the idea that chemicals were synonymous with modern agriculture,” Mr Larsson said.
“But, by the early 1990s, the costs were skyrocketing, and the land was showing obvious signs of over-use.
“Yields were either plateauing or in decline.”
After gaining certification with the Biological Farmers Association (BFA) in the early 1990s, Mara Seeds began its journey into biological farming.
In 1997, the company saw an opportunity to develop a composting facility to produce organic compost and biological tea products for use on-site as well as for commercial sales.
This inspired Mr Larsson to create a biological farming system which includes custom-made composts, crop rotation and soil drenches or ‘teas’ which yielded tremendous results in vegetable and cropping programs.