Farmer Field Day at Worrolong Produce
Only one hour out from the bustling urban centre of Perth and you find the quiet, agricultural locality of Wanerie. It was here at Tom and Emma Mitchell’s property, Worrolong Produce, that we held a RegenWA Farmer Field Day. Over 40 interested stakeholders and farmers took part in the day to listen to Tom and Emma talk passionately about how and why they farm regeneratively.
With recent rains, the farm was primed for a walk to their mixed cover crop where every plant plays a different role in improving soil health. The development of the mixed cover crop has been a process of continual learning for Tom and Emma who have trialled different approaches to how it is done. They emphasise the need for continual knowledge acquisition and innovation, and communicated their own failings and learnings, while pointing out that what works at Worrolong may not work equally as well in other places and visa-versa.
Tom and Emma have deepened their understanding of their available resources, the benefits they bring about, allowing them to focus their resources use more efficiently. They no longer use fungicides on their pumpkins and have been able to reduce their NPK application amounts while getting bumper yields, year on year.
They have been able to shift their leaf test results into a more acceptable range, and have utilised pelletised chicken manure with zeolite at a very light rate (Zeolite, a type of clay, when incorporated with pelleted or composted chicken litter, has the potential to deliver nutrients to plants as they are required and to improve soil condition, Runge et al., 2007 pg.45).
Being an irrigated property, they utilize moisture monitoring equipment to increase their water use efficiencies and ensure they aren’t washing any nutrients past the root uptake zone. They also explained the effectiveness of applying a layer of compost (or mulch) under the citrus trees, a practice which they repeat every few years.
Tom and Emma supply the wholesale markets, some independent shops directly and sell at the Kyilla Community Farmers’ Market, when their produce is in season.
RegenWA looks forward to continuing these Farmer Field Days fostering collaboration, sharing of experiences and learning from others. If you are interested in hosting a field day, please get in contact with us.