Mardo Farm - Farrells Avocados
How we farm?

There is still much to be learned here. However as commercial members of Biodynamic Agriculture Australia, for many years, their support has been of great value. We use Living Flow Forms stirring system which will stir 3,000 L/Hr. In addition it is portable, so we could help other people starting out in this type of farming.

Both Vin and Elizabeth are UWA graduates with Zoology and ecology forming the basis of the BSc, obtained in the far distant past. This perhaps was the source of the sustainable ecological approach.

The property was selected in 1976 for its rich biodiversity as it has several distinct ecosystems within its boundaries. As well there has been a long period of time elapsed since it was burned (late 1940's to 50's), and it was adjacent to very large tracts of forest which is now National Park and conserved forest. Finally, water for the property arises on the property. These things made it a lot easier to manage the farm ecologically. Development was carried out over a number of years so that approximately 50% of natural vegetation was retained. 30% of the land has no livestock access. Burning of the land has never been a management practice.

The farm has been part of the Land for Wildlife program for some years, and the property has been mapped and examined to identify rare plants and habitats. For example a rare fern which only develops 50years or so after burning has occurred. The bush connections both across our property and between us and adjacent conserved forest; the presence of many old mature trees which usually have suitable nesting sites for a variety of mammals and birds is part of the management plan to keep the property ecologically rich. Government managed aerial baiting for foxes in the adjacent National Park have been a key input to allow regeneration of mammal species.

Our small orchard of avocados, now one thousand trees, the first of which were planted in 1986 is surrounded by forest and broken into smaller plots where diversified bush corridors separate the blocks. This supplies food and shelter and other aspects of habitat to a wide range of organisms, especially predators of insect pests and other pests.

We believe that the soil is of paramount importance - a healthy soil with great microbiological diversity is the large support base which allows healthy avocados and beef cattle to grow. This means that a lot of effort has been put into addressing mineral imbalance, provision of diverse organic matter, pasture species and orchard swards. We have also introduced a wide range of micro-organisms and try to provide conditions which will maintain a biologically active soil. The farm also produces quality baby beef within a closed herd and seems to need no help from us other than to apply rotational controlled grazing, and then the cows tell us when it is time to move on! The cows and calves are in peak condition and natural grazing on mineral rich soil together with plenty of bush retreats seems to do the job for us. Every thing is returned to the farm as far as possible, and becomes part of the composting cycle.