Heinz and Angela Gugger proved to be perfect candidates to embrace and benefit from the biological approach. They had not farmed prior to their current enterprise so the had no pre-existing paradigms to shift. They attended the four-day NTS Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture course several years ago, liked what they heard and applied the principles to their farm. Mary Valley Orchards has gone on to become a showpiece of biological orchard management and this week they won the Sunshine Coast Environmental Council award for sustainable agriculture at a ceremony affectionately called “The Froggies”.
Heinz and Angela are originally from Switzerland but moved from successful marketing careers in the US to the Gympie region, as a family inspired lifestyle change. Heinz has utilised his marketing skills to gain maximum benefit from his produce and he has created more demand for high quality persimmons than he can currently supply.
They have used precision nutrition and biological activation techniques to gradually reduce chemicals to the point that there are now no fungicides, pesticides or herbicides used on the farm. Miniature cattle, geese and chickens are used to control the inter row and energy agriculture techniques are utilised, along with foliar nutrition, to help manage pests.
Heinz has become a regular presenter at the NTS courses as he can offer an invaluable insight into selling your product on your terms. The missing link for many farmers is marketing. It is fine to produce a superior product but that product must then be sold and it is always better to be a price maker rather than a price taker. Heinz shares the simple strategies that can help growers jump this final barrier on the path to increased profitability.