Wooldridge Family Farm, Arthur River 

The Wooldridge Family, Brad and Tracy and daughters, Sophie and Emily, live at Arthur River, half way between Perth and Albany.

They run a mixed cropping and livestock farm. Crops cover about half the area and include Barley, Oats, Canola and Lupins. The remainder is pasture and on this run up to 2000 composite and Suffolk ewes, supplying store prime lambs for a feed lotter.

Over the past 20 years the farm has been assisting researchers with areas to run projects.

Current projects include:

·      A new perennial pasture trial – complete with auto logging soil moisture probes

·      An active optical sensor project site – one of 6 nationally with UNE to develop a phone app to measure pasture biomass

·      Grain and Graze 3, transition from pasture to crop , weed control measurements

·      Remote sensing – satellite use for seasonal planning and high resolution in paddock spatial analysis

Brad and Tracy are members of the local bush fire brigade, southern DiRT’s research committee, Rabo’s client council and local farmer self-mentoring group. They have had the pleasure of many visitors over the years and are happy to share this experience with you.

They enjoy working with animals, have started keeping bees, have large areas of conserved bush and are in the process of expanding their business.

Rex Family Farm, Beaufort River 

Rob and Caroline have been farming together since 1992. They have three children,Alec is an Agronomist at Kojonup Agricultural Supplies in Kojonup, Megan is studying Architecture at UWA in Perth and James our youngest is at boarding School in Perth.

We own 2 properties: Westendale – 2700ha located just east of the Albany Hwy approximately 200km south of Perth in the Arthur River area, and Na-laura – 844ha Located 20km west of Kojonup.

The properties we manage are mixed farming enterprises consisting of self-replacing merino sheep flocks and cropping.

·     Rainfall: 420ml predominately winter rainfall

·     Soil type: The majority of our soils are sandy loams over clay at variable depth

·     Stocking Rate: Approx. 10-11DSE to the winter grazed ha.

·     Crops grown: Wheat, canola, barley lupins and oats in rotation.

·     Crop area: 1300ha (this is very variable)

·     Pastures: mixed species perennial/annual pastures in most of the grazing only areas, with the remainder annual based pastures.

·     Stock: Self replacing merino sheep flock.

Our farm vision is to “Regenerate People, Profit and the Environment.” We believe that healthy soils are vital for long term profit in farming. To try and keep our decision making as simple as possible we think: people, profit, environment, water, minerals and energy and how will they be impacted. Those six things guide all our decision making.”

Ashley Wiese

Ashley owns and manages a 6,000ha farming operation at Narrogin, in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. The Wiese family took up land in Narrogin in 1901 and the farm has been in the family ever since with each generation slowly expanding the business. Ashley completed a Commerce degree and worked as an accountant in Perth before returning to the farm.

Today Ashley and his wife Jo manage the farm from their family base in Perth, Western Australia where they are educating their three children. Ashley divides his time between the farm and his Perth office while the day to day operations of farming are managed by a wonderful team of staff. Ashley is passionate about the grains industry and has held positions in the Growers Advisory Council for the Western Australia farmer owned Co-op CBH, as well as his current position in the WA Grains Industry Oats Committee.

The core farming business revolves around a mixed farming system of sheep, oat, canola, lupins, oaten hay and quinoa. Over the past seven years Ashley has been one of three farmers in Narrogin who have embarked on establishing a quinoa industry in WA.

They now own and run a dedicated quinoa processing facility and market Australian Quinoa under the “Three Farmers” brand. Since April 2016 Three Farmers Quinoa is sold in supermarkets throughout Australia and the business has recently begun exporting into Asia.

Wide Open Agriculture (WOA)

Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) is a food and regenerative agriculture movement! Currently, WOA has a 1500sqm greenhouse growing herbicide-free vegetables at Arthur River and plans to to expand its operation to include a network of greenhouses throughout the Western Australian Wheatbelt. WOA’s vision is to regenerate Wheatbelt ecosystems and communities. We have started using a vertically integrated business model, where we participate in land ownership, primary production and the marketing and distribution of what is produced. One example of the innovation employed at WOA is the series of interconnected dams from which water can be transferred using a solar powered water pump – providing plenty of water for the Wedge Smart Shadehouse. Drip feed irrigation is used and directs the water to the root of the plant where it’s needed – this is a very small fraction of the water used in traditional horticultural irrigation methods. Finally, the drainage system means we have the capacity to recycle the water that runs off the crop.

Water is our most precious resource, and a great example of how focusing on our environmental returns can help financial returns too.