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"The Youngs at Young Seeds"

An Australian CROPPING CASE STUDY

Meet Russell Young of Young Seeds. Russell’s story of farming offers insights into flood prone landscapes like the Condamine River region, and highlights some of the challenges for farmers who have been affected by unpredictable and extreme weather conditions in recent years. While still in the early days of practice change, Russell has observed promising changes to how the soil is behaving, as well as increased worm activity, especially in his multispecies paddocks. These results have given Russell a lot of confidence.

Russell was born and bred on the family farm, which his grandfather established in the 1950s. After leaving school, Russell got involved with the property, but for many years divided his time between truck-driving and farming. He has recently come back to full-time farm management.

Russell’s enterprise is grain production with value-add seed production, grown across 870 Ha in the Western Downs region of Queensland. In 2017 Russell began exploring alternatives to the established farming routines on the Youngs’ property. He wanted to address compaction issues, effective storage of moisture and alternative approaches to weed management. There have also been routine applications of fertilisers and herbicides used on the farm for several decades. In recent years Russell has become increasingly concerned about the impact on his property, and more generally within the food system. 

Russell wants to explore what his family can do to ‘take more control back over their business, the farm’s health, and family’s health’. Listening to leaders in regenerative agriculture and participating in a soil biology course inspired Russell to trial new approaches. Russell is taking a staged approach, testing new methods and integrating practices that show results. 

Over the past five years, Russell has reduced herbicide use, and modified their use by adding biological products that help efficacy of herbicide and provide weed control through building up soil health. Russell began a series of trials on a 17 Ha intensive regenerative zone in 2021, experimenting with multispecies crops, soil health applications and companion cropping. From winter 2021 onwards Russell planted a 12 way mix of multispecies, with a summer mix in 2021-2022 including a cash crop component. 

Looking ahead, Russell wants to see dollar value for nutritional content of regeneratively grown products. He hopes to be value adding to all of his seed and selling in smaller ratios when dollar value for that offering exceeds the standard dollar value of his current product.

Check back soon.

We’ll soon release the full case study which will include practice changes, soil health and building outcomes. Follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter to hear the latest.

Farm Facts

Location
Barunggam Country | Western Downs region, QLD
Annual Rainfall
681.2mm
Agro-climatic region
Humid subtropical climate
Property Size
872 Ha over three properties: Barellan (330 Ha), Avoca (259 Ha), Wysall Park (283 Ha)
Elevation
344m
Social Structure
Family owned and operated
Enterprise Type
100% grain, with value-add seed production and processing of Sorghum, Sugar Drip, Cowpea, Butterfly pea, Pearl and Siberian Millet, Wheat, Barley
Soils*
Barellan & Wysall Park: self-mulching clay, Avoca: Waco black vertisol, self-mulching clay

*Learn more about soil classifications at Soil Science Australia

Location
Barunggam Country | Western Downs region, QLD
Annual rainfall
681.2mm
Agro-climatic region
Humid subtropical climate. All dryland farming. The majority of rain falls as thunderstorms in the summer months. The Condamine River is to the East of the property, and when flooding can cover theirs and neighbouring properties.
Property size
872 Ha over three properties: Barellan (330 Ha), Avoca (259 Ha), Wysall Park (283 Ha)
Elevation
344m
Social structure
Family owned and operated
Enterprise type
100% grain, with value-add seed production and processing of Sorghum, Sugar Drip, Cowpea, Butterfly pea, Pearl and Siberian Millet, Wheat, Barley.
Soils*
Barellan & Wysall Park: self-mulching clay, Avoca: Waco black vertisol, self-mulching clay

*Learn more about soil classifications at Soil Science Australia

Videos

This project is supported by the Australian Government’s Smart Farms Program.
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