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Diversification on-farm addresses sustainabilityBY THE KONDININ GROUPJake Ryan’s on-farm diversification strategy has earned him the Award for Excellence in Diversification at the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.
The 2022 Young Farmer of the Year finalist, Jake is an innovative young producer from Manjimup, Western Australia. On his family farm, Jake manages an intensive program, including the production of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and kale; sheep and cows; and chickens for pastureraised eggs.
Jake also has a focus on diversity, soil biological activity and storage and nutrient cycling.
“I am passionate about regenerative agriculture and have adopted many innovative strategies to help the farm develop into a more sustainable operation,” Jake said.
Jake is an early adopter of strip tillage in WA and of diverse pasture species mixes, developing effective perennial and annual mixes from his trials.
“I have hosted a cover crop and strip tillage trial through Horticulture Innovation Australia, helping to share the benefits we are seeing from our strip tillage. I use it and cover cropping in the vegetable production to improve nutrient cycling and soil structure,” he said.
In pasture rotations, Jake uses a diverse mix of 6–8 pastures for both annuals and perennials. All legumes are inoculated at seeding and paddocks are rotationally grazed, with Jake only taking 50% of the biomass in any one graze. Jake’s nutritional plan for the farm includes trace elements tested in small plots for a response, and biological stimulants such as humic and fulvic acid, kelp and fish hydrolysate.
JAKE Ryan with Dan Dixon, ANZ Marketing Director, Corteva Agriscience.
Winner of the 2022 Award for Excellence in Diversification.Ben White, General Manager of Research at Kondinin Group, said that Jake was implementing a bold diversification strategy on farm that was really addressing sustainability.
“Jake is making positive changes on farm, which will support the long-term sustainability of the operation. He is also sharing his experiences and challenges with others in the industry. It is one thing to make these changes on farm, but it is another to be willing to impart them with other farmers for greater industry benefit,” Ben said.
Jake recently won Corteva Agriscience’s Climate Positive Leader award, a prestigious award, which will see him traveling and meeting up with the other winners to discuss climate positive methods to adopt and how to share this with the wider public. He was one of nine winners worldwide.
“I want to see our family business grow and prosper for the next generation, and to be a leader in how our industry approaches climate and sustainability issues,” Jake said.
“Being acknowledged in this area demonstrated that what I was doing was making a difference.”