a holistic approach of farming
eumundi beef farm, eumundi, QLD
Meeting Susan from Eumundi Beef was a real pleasure, and probably one the most interesting and informative farm visits so far.
How did it all come about? For quite a while now we have been onto the the virtues of bone broth, a vitamine packed slow reduction stock, that keeps for weeks and provides a quick, incredibly nutritious, and delicious meal. Normally we keep all the bones from the beef, chicken and fish we eat, but sometimes find it necessary to stock up on bones to make a big batch. A quick google search and a few emails later put us onto Eumundi Beef, a biodynamic farm on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
A few kilos of marrow rich bones filled up our 17 litre stock pot, and we also stocked the fridge with some of the very best beef we have ever eaten. As we spent a few months around this area, we came back a few times, got chatting away with Susan, and were fascinated by her holistic approach of farming, so we arranged a day to come, help, learn and film.
Susan has had the farm for about 5 years now. She was a biochemist by profession, and her focus was in growing really nutrient dense food “So how do I make nutrient dense food? I need good soil. How do i get good soil? From there she moved forward, and has done a really fantastic job.
Driving on to her property, you can really see the difference in the quality of the grass on her land compared to the neighbouring farms. Green, lush, healthy and full of legumes. Her farm is 265 acres, with 45 acres of dense forest and 100 acres of river flat, that stays damp and productive even in the dry season. She runs a herd of about 100 cows, equalling roughly 1 cow per 2 acres. And all they eat is grass!
Susan uses holistic farming practices where she uses rotational grazing, mimicking the effect a large wild heard would have on vast plains. All natural grasslands in the world are kept healthy by being grazed down hard, and then being given time to grow up again. This is how large heards feed, constantly moving, eating everything in one area, and not returning until the ecosystem has fully recovered.
She moves her herd of about 100 cattle through different fenced off areas on her property, only allowing them to graze in that area for one day, forcing them to eat everything, as believe it or not, cows are fussy eaters, and given the chance will graze quite selectively. They are then moved on, and will not be allowed back to this area for at least 6 weeks. The whole idea behind this is to have the cattle graze down all the grass quickly, and then give the earth time to regenerate, giving the grass the time it needs to grow back fully and healthily, and it lets the dung get fully absorbed back into the soil, unlocking even more nutrients.
As high as the grass is above the ground, it has a root structure below the ground of the same size and mass. When it gets grazed down, all the roots die back, and all that organic material gets used by micro organism in the soil. The cows leave the urin and dung behind, and that adds even more organic material.
They also trample down all the dead grass, and push it back into the soil. Over time, using this grazing management practice, you can increase the organic layer of the soil, providing nutrient dense topsoil, that creates nutrient dense grass, that feeds nutrient dense cows, so we can eat nutrient dense beef! Fixed grazing and factory farming just can’t compare, and we are really grateful to Susan at Eumundi Beef for what she does and what she has taught us.