Alan Coates is an experienced agricultural advisor who specialises in macadamia production in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, Australia. Apart from on farm consulting, Alan runs a TAFE course “Macadamia Production for a Changing Climate” (incorporating biological farming principles) at Wollongbar for macadamia growers.
Class members evaluate soil health and soil management practices on their respective farms using the Northern Riven Soil Health Card and soil laboratory analyses. Surface water management to control soil erosion is also addressed. Class members then develop a soil management plan for their farm incorporating biological farming principles and the Soil Best Management Practice Guide. Alan was a facilitator in developing the soil health card, an extremely practical tool for farmers to guide farmers in observing and measuring their farm soil health. He also volunteered his time and expertise to devise the SMP to ensure that the guide would be useful and relevant resource for farmers.
Dr. Elaine lngham and her students at the SFl 2 week course are visiting a macadamia farm “House of No Steps“ to learn about how and why a commercial macadamia farm changed from conventional farming practices. Today Alan Coates discusses his farm management with Elaine. Graham and students of SFI presents his findings to the class.
The Problem: The heavy use of chemicals had led to soil erosion, compaction, poor tree health. a decline in yield and overall a disastrous result on soil health.
What Did Alan Do?: Alan introduced the use of compost and where possible has applied biological methods to control pests, increase soil aeration and utilised waste products.
The Results: The farm is achieving consistent good production in times of little rain, outperforming the district yields, he soil structure has improved, earth worms are evident. the tree health has returned and costs are down. all resulting in a more profitable and sustainable system.
We thank Alan for his generosity in sharing his valuable farm management expertise and also thank the “House with No Steps” for allowing us to be there to film. Many thanks also to Dr. Elaine Ingham and her students and for the participation of Graham Lancaster (EAL) also.
TALK THE WALK FOLLOW UP
Done watching the video?
Listen to the Follow up “Talk the Walk” Q&A Call Session
Hugo Disler interviews Alan Coates
“The Biologival Practices That Bring Increased Returns On Macadamia Farms”