Pay Dirt: National Biological Farming Conference and Expo – Cairns, 28-30 Oct 2016

July 29, 2016

Pay Dirt: National Biological Farming Conference and Expo - Cairns, 28-30 Oct 2016

Paul and Gabe Brown on their farm in North Dakota, USA.

To hit pay dirt: to discover something of value; to get to the basic facts of something.

It’s all about soil in the far north as the countdown to the National Biological Farming Conference in Cairns in late October starts in earnest.


Internationally renowned regenerative farmer, Gabe Brown, is one of the star attractions, speaking on “Why I Fish More!” Gabe and son, Paul, have focussed on farming and ranching in nature’s image with holistic integration of their grazing and no-till cropping system on their diversified 2,000ha property near Bismarck, North Dakota, USA. Cash crops, multi-species cover crops, and all-natural, grass-fed beef, poultry and sheep have regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or fungicides, allowing Gabe more time to do what he really enjoys: fishing. Gabe says: “[Our] strategies have allowed the health of the natural resources to benefit… sustainability for not only ours but future generations as well.”

Gabe will be speaking at the conference about how he now has more leisure time, as well as teaching simple strategies to change soil condition in a five-step process and holding a workshop post-conference.

There’s plenty of time for toys as well. Ben Grear from Rise Above drone company and Marcus Bulstrode (Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) will share a session enlightening delegates on the potential of drone technology, especially in crop monitoring and targeted herbicide with improved environmental outcomes and on-farm efficiencies. Strip-tillage specialists NifftyAg are bringing an international team from the US and UK to support local farmer Ben Poggioli in demonstrating and explaining their customised machinery’s application to cropping and sugar cane industries in the extensive associated expo.

Weed control gets a look in. Dr Vic Galea will present his innovative bio-herbicide encapsulating a native fungus that can be injected into woody weeds for a natural, chemical-free kill. Blue Hand Steam are exhibiting their machine that controls a range of weeds with a portable directed steam jet. 

Go to for the full list of speakers.