Ian Campbell from Queensland’s Barambah Organics is so focused on the welfare of his herd that he found himself instinctively checking his wife’s gums during her pregnancy. “He’d check to see if I was deficient in anything,” says Jane Campbell, “just like he does with our cows.”
A highly trained rural scientist who specialises in animal nutrition, Ian can tell just by looking at their gums whether his cows need more minerals or vitamins, and is able to add them to their feed (made up of organic grain grown on the property, equating to about 20% of the cows’ diet) to prevent or stave off potential disease. Of course, he rarely needs to. The Campbell’s 800-strong herd are free to roam the lush Barambah paddocks, getting the nutrients they need from the “virtual salad bowl” of mixed grasses that cover the rich soil of their property on the Queensland-New South Wales border.
The Campbells moved their operation to the Border Rivers Region in 2006 because of its proximity and access to reliable water. “You just can’t be in the dairy industry without reliable water,” says Jane. Prior to that, they farmed in the Queensland region of South Burnett, about 400 kilometres northeast, on a site that had been farmed by Ian’s family since 1912. Ian converted the fourth-generation family farm, ‘Spring Creek’, to organic status in 1999. In 2002, he and Jane produced their first bottle of milk under the Barambah Organics brand.