Michael and Karen Camenzuli started growing cabbages on 10 hectares in 1989 and have expanded to over 60 hectares on the Macquarie River south of Bathurst, NSW. Their three children have plenty of work to do when they are not in school, helping with growing and harvesting cabbage, sweet corn, and making lucerne or oaten hay.
Michael is passionate about soil health. Like many vegetable growers, a big challenge for Michael is harvesting and delivering produce when soil conditions are too wet. The wet cold conditions when harvesting cabbage in winter can result in considerable soil damage. Likewise, in summer harvesting of the corn crop requires heavy machinery, also potentially damaging the soil.
Typically, post harvest tillage needed to be multiple, deep and aggressive to fill in ruts and wheel tracks and loosen the compacted soil. Such tillage takes a toll on the soil and also pushes up costs.
Michael is working with the Soil Wealth ICP team to look at cover crops and strip-till in winter cabbage and corn or pumpkins. The objective is to increase pumpkin quality and reduce packing costs through less washing from the pumpkins sitting on the cover crop trash, all the while contributing to improved soil health.