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.