In 1965 my parents started one of the first Biodynamic Dairy farms after my father, Don Rathbone attended a series of lectures by Alex Podilinsky.
One of the main soil development tools in biodynamics, is to stir a microbial spray called 500 onto the soil twice a year. In the old days it used to be done by hand, until a neighbour along with guidance from Alex, developed one of the first stirring machines (seen below). Basically the microbes are stirred for an hour in this machine (that creates a series of vortexes) and then sprayed out on the paddock. The microbes go about breaking down old organic matter (manure,leaves, roots etc) into rich plant food called humus which appear as a dark coloidal matter in the soil (see below) and consequently grows healthy grass and cows.
At first the healthy milk produced by these cows was tipped in with all the conventional milk and went off to the supermarket mixed in with all the rest, so biodynamic marketing, Don and other BD farmers developed the first Biodynamic butter and milk.
Our farm was part of some of the first comparative testing done between Biodynamics and conventional farming.
Then climate change and drought started to happen more and more often.
And we had to bring in more feed from all over the place from as far away as WA.
So I decided that we might have to diversify into something that returned more for the little water we were getting so we started growing vegetables.
From 1996 we had our own home delivery service throughout Northern Victoria.
In 2009 - 2014 we built our website and subcontracted our deliveries out to couriers and the post. We used to send products right throughout Australia.
In 2010 after 10 years of drought, a neighbour offered to buy the dairy farm from us and with my parents (in their early 70's) wanting to retire, we decided to downsize and go with the more sustainable system on 50 acres of horticulture which is irrigated via an ongoing bore water system.
Now we have decided to focus on a more paddock to plate type marketing systems using farmers markets and the internet to take control of our sales and the price we get for our products.
To see more about this check out our You tube by opening up your internet and pushing the link below.