Order A Meat Pack

Buy your Grass Fed Beef and Lamb direct from the producer in our beef, lamb or combination packs. Exceptional eating and great value. We deliver throughout Australia, refrigerated to your door!

Grass Fed Beef and Lamb

Running of cattle and sheep together has given us a powerful ecological tool for repair and rehabilitation of our pastures. The ‘Herd Effect’ and ‘Animal Impact’ are tools that we have used through our grazing system to repair and restore problem areas, increasing total yield. This allows us to grow all of our meat the way nature intended – from grass.

Eric R. J. Harvey

Eric is a member of Stipa Native Grass Association, Australian Simmental Breeders Association, Australian Professional Woolclassers Association At Gilgai Farms he regularly host field days and training days for a number of organizations wishing to showcase and teach regenerative and sustainable agricultural practices.

Ecological Farming Systems

Gilgai Farm’s ecological farming system promotes an increase in biodiversity to build a resilient ecosystem able to withstand fluctuations in temperatures, rainfall patterns and climate variability while producing healthy and nutritious, quality foods.

Biological Farming

By restoring a chain of ponds system and wetland areas we are rehydrating our landscape to recreate the naturally fertile conditions of the land prior to European settlement. Compost teas are restoring our soil microbial activity which has produced astounding results.

Chain of ponds on Gilgai Farms

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Our online store is unavailable due to an attack, but we are still open for business. If you would like to order a meat pack, please contact us through this website or by calling 02 6887 1621.

Eric Harvey

Australia Day Award

This is a newsletter I’ve been ‘threatening’ to write for a long time.

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2014. We hope and pray this year exceeds all your expectations and that rain will fall where it is so desperately needed.

A Big congratulations to Wendy who was the recipient of an Australia Day Award and Medal for her Community Service and Achievements. It was wonderful to see her receive the recognition for all the things she does in her own quiet way without expecting any recognition. It was a real surprise for her as she had no idea the award was coming her way. Well done!!

Wendy receiving her Australia Day Award and Medal for Community Service and Achievement

Wendy receiving her Australia Day Award and Medal for Community Service and Achievement

Wendy and Luke after the presentation of her Australia Day Award

Wendy and Luke after the presentation of her Australia Day Award

There seems to have been less hours in the day over the last few months and other issues have taken our priority. Partly to blame for the lateness of this newsletter (a good excuse Wendy would say), has been the exceptionally dry seasonal conditions we are experiencing. I think it would be fair to say we are in one of the longest ‘dry spells’ we’ve experienced, some people might even call it a drought.

We have really had no effective rain with follow up falls to keep the pastures going, since July 2012. We had basically 4 falls of rain in 2013, March, June, September and another 30mm on Christmas Day. The fact that the livestock have handled these conditions so well and are in excellent health still surprises me.

Bringing in ewes and lambs for lamb marking.

Bringing in ewes and lambs for lamb marking.

Cows and Calves in a very dry environment

Cows and Calves in a very dry environment

 

 

Some of the highlights for us since the last newsletter have been:

Nora Gedgaudas Conference,The Argentinian Delegation Visit, Allan Savory Masterclass in Dubbo, Shearing and Carcass Results in the Sheep, A steady progression of new customers to our produce (nearly 200), Celebration of Mum and Dad’s 60th Wedding Anniversary and Mum’s 80th Birthday and time with family and grandchildren. The list really does go on and on and all have been very special.

Argentinian Visit

In September we hosted an Argentinian delegation who were studying ‘Grazing Management Techniques in Arid Zones’. The group consisted of mainly farmers from the San Luis province as well as 7 members of their parliament and senate. We immediately ‘struck a chord’ with the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock whose father is the president of the Argentinian Simmental Cattle Association.

The group were tremendously open and appreciative of what we were doing here and the highlight for Wendy and I, was an invitation to a Mayoral reception and dinner in Dubbo the next evening where we were able to share and enjoy further the friendships established the day before. They were a group who were tremendously family orientated and our 3 grand children had a wonderfully rich and positive encounter with a different language and culture. We thank them for that.

71 Argentinian Delegates at Gilgai Sheepyards

71 Argentinian Delegates at Gilgai Sheepyards

 

Nora Gedgaudas “Primal Body, Primal Mind” Conference in Dubbo

In late May we were asked to take the ‘Gilgai Farms’ stand to this conference. We were also able to participate and listen to Nora (follow the link to find out more) which was simply amazing. Everything that Nora said and discussions during and after was an affirmation that what we are doing, is and will be, the very best for our community in terms of healthy nutritious produce.
The detail and the volume of the science she presented was literally mind blowing. It would have been better if the program had been run over 2 days, simply to try and take in all that she presented.

Allan Savory Masterclass

Luke and I were priveleged to have a day with Allan Savory the founder and developer of Holistic Management. We were also able to take Dad down to meet him the day before and for them to catch up about their old times in Zimbabwe. It was great to hear them chatting away in ‘Ndebele’ the native language of Matabeleland which is the southern province of Zimbabwe. It was a great and challenging day, spent with Allan.

Lamb Carcass Weights and Wool Data

We have had a marked rise in the dressed weight of our hoggets for the lamb packs. The dressed weights of the lambs has moved from an average of 19kgs when we started in 2009 to 31kgs in 2013. We can’t explain the results but add that the hogget packs are now probably the best value for money on the market (packs can now be up to 10-12kgs and 20-24kgs with price unchanged).

Also new with the lamb packs is an additional choice of 2 new gourmet lamb sausages. These are Honey, Mint and Rosemary as one option or Thai Basil, Chilli and Coriander as the other. The regular Lamb and Rosemary sausages are also still available.

Our wool results from our last shearing were also quite outstanding. We are now shearing our sheep approximately every 6 months instead of every 12 months. The tensile strength, yield and cut have been exceptional. For the “woollies” out there we have averaged  17.4mic, 74.3% yield, 65mm in length with a massive 62Nm of tensile strength. We can see the actual animals are ‘doing’ so much better with this shearing regime as the pictures show the amazing ‘job’ the ewes have done on their lambs this year.

2 and half month old lambs waiting their turn at lamb marking.

2 and half month old lambs waiting their turn at lamb marking.

People

Mum and Dad celebrated 60 years of marriage and Mum’s 80th birthday on the 9th of January. A surprise visit of Rhonda (from Singapore) and her son James (from Sydney) made their day. Further to that a surprise party held on the Saturday for both of them with friends and family caught them completely by surprise.

Mum and Dad's 60th Wedding Anniversary

Mum and Dad’s 60th Wedding Anniversary

 

Rhonda has since gone back to Singapore and Mum and Dad are currently in New Zealand with our brother Paul and his wife Claire. Our eldest sister Ruth who lives in Connecticutt will be catching up with them in New Zealand.

Luke and family are well settled in Wellington and Dwight will start school this year. Luke has been tireless in his efforts on the farm and his work is greatly appreciated. He has just returned from a visit to Emerald, Qld where his sister Hayley, Scott and Blake reside. Dwight has been a big help around the farm over the last few months and has really been a joy to me to be able to spend time with son and grandson around and about the farm.

Dwight helping with the lamb shearing in December

Dwight helping with the lamb shearing in December

 

Eric and Wendy have had a couple of trips away with a south Pacific cruise in June, then a week on a Murray River houseboat with friends in October. This was followed by a week at West Beach in Adelaide with daughter Hayley, Scott and Blake joining us from Emerald and quality time with our sons Simon and Matthew and their respective families who live in Adelaide. It was good to catch up with Amelia, Georgia and Coco-Nicole, 3 of our 5 grand daughters.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education”   Albert Einstein

Regards and wishing you good health,

Eric, Wendy and the Gilgai Team

It’s About Health

Welcome.

Where has the year gone??

The seasons have been very dry – Spring, Summer and the Autumn. We have received 21% of our average rainfall since the beginning of August last year and at this stage we have about 3 weeks of feed left. We have had a small shower last week and more is forecast for this week, so will keep hoping and praying

IT’S ALL ABOUT HEALTH

 

We have become more aware of the ramifications of our farming practices on human health, and as such have tested our produce to verify it’s nutritional value. These nutritional tests are posted on the website and deserve a read. A link to a good explanation of what they mean is also posted on the page. Click on the above link to take you straight to them.

It has become a real joy for us to hear of our produce being a help to customers who have or are having health issues. A increasing number of our customers are people who cannot eat food produced from an ‘industrial system’ of agriculture and it is wonderful that we are able to fill that nutritional requirement with our meat. HEALTH IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.

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New Mince and Sausage Packs.

We have introduced a new 10kg mince and sausage pack in both the beef and lamb. Over the last few months we have been trialling a number of different gourmet sausage recipes and will start to incorporate them into the other meat packs in the next few weeks, once we get the results from our ‘tasters’ and ‘testers’.

At the moment we are offering the regular sausages and gluten and preservative free sausages with the beef packs and the Lamb and Rosemary (gluten free) sausages with the lamb mince pack.

*** SPECIAL SPECIAL SPECIAL***

WE ARE OFFERING 500GM OF LAMB MINCE AND 500GM OF BEEF GOURMET SAUSAGES WITH EVERY ORDER UNTIL THE END OF JUNE.

THE LAMB MINCE IS QUITE SENSATIONAL AND WE THINK THIS WOULD BE A GOOD WAY FOR YOU ALL TO HAVE A TASTE OF BOTH.

 

The Beef Gourmet Sausage recipes that we have decided on are: “Cracked Pepper and Worcestershire” and “Bush Tomato, Pepperberry and Lemon Leaf”.

We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do.

 

What’s Happening on the Farms

They sheep have been classed, joined, crutched and will be pregnancy scanned at the end of May before annual shearing at the end of June.

The cows have been pregnancy tested and drafted into their appropriate herds for calving in July. Calves have been weaned and the draft of the best steer calves are now in their own paddock.

We have sown about 200 acres of Triticale to hopefully give us another feed source during winter and then a cash source in summer. We are hoping it will germinate on the rain that we have had this past week and that the forecasted rain will arrive this week.

It has been quite amazing to see the condition of our livestock and the health through this dry time. They have been supplemented only for a short time in February with some hay.

Facebook

We are finding it easier to post and put up photos on our Facebook page and so have planned that this will be where we focus most of our photos and news. Please like the Gilgai Farms page if you are a Facebook user and you should get most of our news.

For those who are not Facebook users we will continue with this newsletter but on a less frequent level.

 

People

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Eric and Wendy are looking forward to a short break before annual shearing gets underway at the end of June. They travelled to Emerald in May for the 1st birthday of their youngest grandson Blake.

Eric and Wendy both participated in his christening or dedication ceremony. A wonderful time.

We have also had Scott’s Mum and Dad (Dale and Barry) stay with us from New Zealand whilst we celebrated Scott’s 40th at Gilgai over the Easter weekend. A great time was had by all and we enjoyed catching up with them and getting to know them better.

Luke and Karissa and family have moved into Wellington and the children have all started in their new schools. They seem to have settled in well and are somewhat enjoying town life again. Luke is still working on the farms and commutes each day.

Eric has also been busy with speaking at a Direct Marketing Forum in Borenore in April, hosting 105 University of Sydney students on farm, speaking to a group of Holistic Resource Management graduates near Wagga Wagga, hosting an afternoon visit from the Watershed Landcare Microscope Group from Mudgee who are into the soil microbial benefits of agriculture.

We have also had a visit from Hannah Gosnell, an Associate professor of geography from Oregon State University who is researching the soil carbon story in Australia. Hannah spent an afternoon and night with us where we gave her the “Gilgai” story.

Stipa Native Grass Association are also running a Carbon Farming Initiative project on the farms and we have had a few visits from their various members over the last few months.

Rhonda is currently in Australia spending her time between Mum and Dad in Dubbo, Sydney and the farms before returning to Singapore mid June.

Mum and Dad have both been unwell. Mum had a cancer cut out her leg in April and whilst Dad was looking after her he had to have emergency surgery to remove a necrotic gall bladder. My brother Paul flew out from New Zealand and spent some time with them and helped them get back on their feet for which we are very grateful. They are both on the mend and are nearly 100% recovered.

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”

Winston Churchill

Wishing you a wet winter and warmest regards,

Eric, Wendy and Team

Winter Newsletter Gilgai Farms 2012


Winter Newsletter 2012

Welcome to a very belated winter newsletter although the temperatures would have us believe we are still in the middle of winter.

I was hoping that this newsletter would be sent around the changeover time of our new website. That happened in the beginning of July and unfortunately we found ourselves very busy with University students and family.

I hope you will all have a look at our new website. We have added a new shopping page  with the ability to compare meat pack cartons and what produce is in them as well as a much simpler shopping cart. We hope that you will find it much easier to navigate around and make the process of ordering a lot smoother. We also hope you will enjoy the new layout and the information provided.

Many thanks to Diarmuid from Red Hot Websites (Wendy’s cousin) for the new website.

At the end of July we shipped a record 27 cartons of grass fed beef and lamb and already have a number of orders in for the next lot of lamb and beef. Don’t forget to get your orders in soon and try the new system.

Nutrition Tests of Our Produce

We have tested mixed cuts of Beef and Lamb to try and quantitatively measure the nutritional value of our produce. (We have had a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that we have wonderful meat.)

These tests occurred in April and the tests were done through a NATA accredited laboratory. We believe they show some interesting results.

High in Trans Fat (Vaccenic acid) which can be changed to CLA a potential cancer fighter.

Over 21%  protein per serve.

Low 4.3% fat per serve

Between 538 and 947 kilojoules of energy per 100gm serve. (Depends on cut of meat)

The ratios of  Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids in our meat are 1:2:25.

From a nutritionist point of view this is a magnificent result. Possibly the best explanation of what this all means is in this article, just click on the link.

The data so far seems to confirm our claims and our customer’s comments of our produce being a Health Food.

What’s Happening on the Farms

We have had exceptional rainfall in the middle of July to top off good rain in May and June. It had up until that stage been a fairly dry autumn. Just over 70mm of rain fell over 2 days and we found it quite difficult at times to get around the properties to check lambing and calving.

Below is a photo of the Westella Rd. This is 1 of 5 waterways that run into Gilgai Farms. There are some other photos and video on our Facebook page.

 

Office of Environment and Heritage have completed the survey component of a grazing research project. They have been able to identify a number of new species of grasses, forbs and shrubs. These have been added into the database and we now have 182 species identified on the farms (the list is on the website).

Our plan of building biodiversity to build ecosystem resilience seems to us, to be working.

Department of Primary Industries have also just completed their results for the National Soil Carbon Research Program. They tested 3 of our paddocks and we have been pleased with the results so far. They are returning to do some soil Biological testing as well.

2 of the 3 paddocks were “sacrifice paddocks” in the drought of 2006, and were left completely bare of any vegetation. The thrilling result for us is that one of our “sacrifice paddocks” of 2006 (and since managed under our regenerative farming system of agriculture), is now rated the highest in the zone (Central West Plains) for soil carbon in the top 10cm.

All of our paddocks that were tested, ranged from 25% to 50% above the Zone Average for Carbon Stock (CS) measured in tonnes of C per ha.

The whole issue of The Soil Carbon Sequestration debate and the Carbon Farming Initiative is to seek methodology whereby farmers could be paid for the tonnes of CO2 we pull out of the atmosphere on a daily basis. We believe are results show that our methodology works.

 

The 3 pictures below show the Rehabilitation Process from 2006 through 2008 to the March 2011 field day.

NRM Visit 2008.

Ramp Paddock (above) on Gilgai holding 48.8 t C/ha in top 30cm as tested in 2011.

People

As mentioned in an earlier newsletter we are hosting vet science students from the University of Sydney. We have since become an Accredited extra mural training site with the University Veterinary Science Faculty for Animal Husbandry.

In July we hosted 3 Vet science students as well as  3 Animal and Vet Bioscience students for a week at a time. We are pretty sure we were able to challenge some of their beliefs and training regarding the differences between “Industrial Agriculture” and our system and hopefully started some thought processes about sustainability and ecology.

Wendy had a month away in Queensland during May, for the birth of our second grandson Blake Nicholas Lambourn, born on the 6th of May in Emerald. Eric joined Wendy for a week in Emerald and then they had a short break on the Sunshine coast relaxing and catching up with some of Wendy’s side of the family whom we hadn’t met before. 

Congratulations  to Scott and Hayley. We now have 7 grandchildren, 5 girls and 2 boys but who’s counting. Very Blessed to have all of them well and healthy. We also had Scott, Hayley and Blake visit us for a fortnight in July, much to the delight of Wendy and Eric.

 Blake Nicholas Lambourn 

 

Eric has been kept busy with students, speaking engagements as well as hosting workshops on farm besides the administration of the meat and farm business.

Mum and Dad seemed to have finally settled into their home in Dubbo. Dad is taking an active visiting role with one of the Baptist churches, as well as helping with a community garden. Mum has kept herself busy with exercise classes and guitar lessons. They are eagerly awaiting a visit from Ruth (eldest daughter) in September from the USA.

Rhonda has been busy in Singapore mostly, as well as Thailand and Shanghai. Things continue to improve after the GFC problems and most of the factories are back at full production again.

Luke and Karissa have been busy with the twins now at school and Master Dwight always keen to help on the farm. Most Monday’s Dwight can be found working with his “Pop” or Dad around the farms.

I believe we should give credit when credit is due, and Luke has continued to do an excellent job of managing the farms in his own quiet way. We want to thank him for all his hard work.

“Thousands upon thousands have studied disease. Almost no one has studied health.”   Adelle Davis

Wishing you health.

Regards,

Eric, Wendy and The Team 

 


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Gilgai Farms

400 Westella Road

Geurie NSW 2818

A Local Food System which supports Sustainable Agriculture

An Interesting article care of Carolyn Ditchfield from her Newsletter FTSU.

“Fletcher Allen Health Care serves two million meals a day, making them the largest restaurant in the Burlington, Vermont area.

According to Health Care Without Harm, the heart of the pledge is “treating food and its production and distribution as preventative medicine that protects the health of patients, staff, and communities.”