Regenerative Farming

Regenerative farming is a system of farming principles and practices that seeks to rehabilitate and enhance the entire ecosystem of the farm by placing a heavy premium on soil health with attention also paid to water management, fertiliser use, carbon sequestration and more. It is a method of farming that “improves the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them,” according to the Rodale Institute.

Our Regenerative Farming Techniques

Zero Tillage: Ploughing and tillage erodes the soil and releases large amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. Having bare and compacted soil creates a hostile environment for beneficial micro-organisms and earthworms whilst also dramatically reducing the soils water retention ability.  At Sundown Pastoral Company we use state of the art zero tillage precision planters which minimise disturbance of our soil. This overtime, increases the levels of soil organically composted matter creating healthier soils that retain more moisture, absorb more carbon, and contain more micro biological diversity. Healthier soils also create more resilient environments for our plants to thrive.

Crop Rotation & Cover Crops: Bare soil is bad soil. Bare exposed soils erode away plus the soil’s nutrients and microbes dry out and die – or are washed away with rain. Furthermore, bare soils mean that plants are not feeding soil microbes through their roots. This leads to a further degraded soil ecosystem. At the same time planting the same plants in the same location each time leads to an imbalance of nutrients and diversity. Sundown Pastoral Co has been using environmentally sound crop rotation practices for many years and never leaves its soil exposed to the elements. Also by rotating crops and deploying cover crops strategically, Sundown Pastoral infuses their soils with more diverse soil organic matter more often – whilst avoiding disease and pest problems naturally.

Diversity of Plants & Wildlife: Different plants release different carbohydrates (sugars) through their roots, and various microbes feed on these sugars and return all sorts of different nutrients back to the plant and the soil. Including nitrogen! By increasing the plant diversity of their fields, Sundown Pastoral Co nourishes the rich, fertile, and nutrient-dense soils that lead to more productive yields. Sundown Pastoral Co also embraces and protects native wildlife and dedicates large areas of land to native vegetation.

Minimise Use of External Inputs: The use of technology and scientific research has allowed Sundown Pastoral Co to limit its use chemicals, fertiliser and water. We also maintain clean river systems with every drop of water monitored, measured and optimised. Not only does this benefit the company economically – it minimises any damage to soil health and water ways.  In addition to this we also embrace the extensive utilisation of solar and renewable energy across the entire Sundown Pastoral Co supply chain.

Auditing Our Farming Techniques: Through a cycle of continuous improvement we audit our farming results and techniques. We then use benchmarking data alongside scientific data to both measure our environmental impact and further improve our production efficiencies.

Our Regenerative Farming Results

Carbon Positive Cotton: The cotton produced by Sundown Pastoral Co is known as Good Earth Cotton. It has been independently verified as being Carbon Positive by the University of Queensland. This means that its growth actually reduces carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Our farms act as giant carbon sinks and absorb more carbon than they release.

Healthy Soils: By using regenerative farming techniques we have further improved our naturally rich and nourishing soils. Our black alluvial soil is so fertile it stores millions of tones of carbon. Our healthy soil is not only rich environment to grow our cotton fibres, but also provides a loving home to many living organisms such as vital earth worms and microorganisms.

Healthy Fibres: Our farming techniques produce the Earth’s highest cotton yields averaging 14 bales/HA. We call our cotton Good Earth Cotton. This results in more lint on the bush per hectare and therefore a more efficient use of land, resources and water. Good Earth Cotton is contamination free. No debris sits in our fibres, therefore no harsh processes are required to handle the raw fibre creating a smooth even fabric. Pure white in colour and known as the whitest cotton in the world, Good Earth Cotton has no need for chemical enhancements in the finishing process to produce a quality long lasting garments. Good Earth Cotton is not only a super sustainable fibre grown in harmony with our natural environments – its high quality is also world recognised.

Accountability and Traceability: Alongside our internal auditing and benchmarking to measure our environmental impact, we have developed FibreTrace technology which enables our cotton to be traced from “seed to shelf” providing integrity and verification throughout the entire cotton supply chain.

Education: Collaborating with the brightest minds in agriculture means us being open to independent field trails and research. For decades we have opened arms to independent industry field trials with both universities and government led research organisations. We value this collaborative history that has contributed to our sustainable farming techniques and Sundown pastoral Co’s ethical credentials. To embrace this further, we have committed to the re-development of our infrastructure with state of the art facilities that include a lecture theatre and large scale catering facilities. Our solar fed Green Star building aims to be Platinum Leed certified and the first large scale B Corp raw fibre operation of its kind. Everyone deserves the right to be educated’ – which is why we love to share our time with students, brands, colleagues and industry bodies. We enjoy our team growth by sitting on industry boards and participating in our local community activities, both present and future.