Bill and Bernadette Bulmer started with a small 30 hectare dairy farm in the 1970’s and have grown this into today’s 500 hectare intensive vegetable growing operation. The business, now run by Andrew and Kaine Bulmer, is one of the largest vegetable growing enterprises in the Mitchell River Valley in East Gippsland, Vic.
With over 40 years farming expertise Bulmer Farms is a leader in the growing of lettuce, baby spinach, baby salad leaf and baby broccoli varieties across nine farms in the region.
Soils cropped vary from sandy clay loams, to loams and medium silty clays depending on proximity to the Mitchell River and location within the river valley. The intensive cultivation used to grow the vegetable crops, and the market requirements to harvest when soil conditions are sometimes not suitable, have taken a toll on the soil.
If soils are not managed correctly they can crust and become very cloddy, the incidence of various soilborne diseases can increase, and during flooding the soils are prone to erosion. The Bulmer’s and their cropping team see management of their most important asset, the soil, as a major focus as they continue to grow and expand the business. The Bulmer’s have a long history of using cover crops to manage their soils.
The Bulmer’s together with the Soil Wealth team are now trialling a range of soil cultivation practices which reduced the amount of tillage required and enhance the soil health benefits of cover crops. The partnership with Soil Wealth is allowing the Bulmer’s production team to trial and refine “softer” approaches to tillage before committing to their use across the business.