Clinton Scott contacted Frank Sciacca in 2020 to enquire about Ecoganic™ farming. Further to a farm visit and some mulching, and biodiversity changes, they commenced working through the Ecoganic Management System Framework in August 2021 to achieve certification for the 2022 Crop.
Clinton and Bens Journey
Why did you decide to go Ecoganic™?
I have been biologically farming since 2007, when I changed from farming sugar cane to avocados it seemed like a natural progression to include ecological farming. This became a good fit for the Ecoganic™ model.
I see Ecoganic™ farming as a way of the future. It is friendly to the ecology as well as the biology of the soil. It sequents carbon and it enhances soil health.
What are your families thoughts and aspirations with regards to farming for the future?
We would like to expand our operations by purchasing conventionally farmed orchards and converting them to the Ecoganic™ system. The productivity we have achieved this year without using 1kg of chemical fertilisers to produce our crop has been quite outstanding.
We would like to finesse our mixture of companion crops to try and counter one of our major soil health issues which is phytophthora. We are trialing two new species in our companion mix to achieve this.
We have a grant to instal 10 hectares of hail net, which also doubles as insect net. We plan to develop a management strategy to strive towards using zero synthetic products used in our farming system.
What are some of the changes you have made?
From the start we have used anastatus wasps to control the fruit spotting bug and this year (2023) we have managed to grow a very good crop with the use of only two selective sprays. We have changed from a chemical based fertigation program and chemical based granular fertiliser program to a complete compost based nutrition program.
We now use our fertigation system to apply kelp, fish emulsion, molasses and calcium products to enhance our soil health and therefore our fruit health.
What changes are you seeing on the farm?
We are seeing a lot less boron deficiency in our fruit. The insect and spider activity is something to behold and we have a large population of earthworms which is a good indication of a healthy soil.
Our population of beneficial insects is growing continuously!