At a glance
Who: Ian Onley
What: Bullfrog Gully Produce is a 90 acre farm specialising in Australian Demeter Biodynamic produce, including eggs and milk.
Where: The farm is located in Gormandale, VIC.
Can you tell us about your property?
I have approximately 30 years of experience in biodynamic management and have been producing Demeter Certified produce for the past 25 years. My farm is predominantly made up of clover and perennial ryegrass, which is used to support milking cows and pastured chickens.
What first got you thinking about climate change?
I first read about climate change in a science magazine that I subscribed to as a teenager.
Has climate change impacted your farm business?
Yes. I am experiencing significant changes to both the prevalence and severity of extreme weather conditions. On my farm, 40 degree days were not heard of outside of February. However, I am now regularly experiencing big fluctuations in temperature as early as Spring; with 40 degree days, followed by 15 degree days. Dry years are very dry and wet years are very rare. This not only affects the health and productivity of stock and plants, but also adds to the costs of production and reduces margins. The Merrimans Creek, our only water source, has stopped running twice in the last twenty years. This had never occurred previously. In 2005, I experienced a big reduction in water availability which forced me to switch from vegetable and beef operations to free-range egg production.
What are some of the climate-smart strategies you’ve been employing?
I have reduced my stocking rates and have also been conserving a larger amount of pasture for silage. I also have renewable energy on my farm which is not only good for the environment but also reduces my energy bills.