Cowra, NSW

Ed and James Fagan are third generation vegetable growers having taken over from their father Peter, the running of the 1,400 hectare farm on the banks of the Lachlan River near Cowra, NSW.

Mulyan Farms has been growing broadacre crops since 1886 and in 1943  ventured into vegetables with the opening of the local cannery.

Today Peter enjoys retirement, and while the cannery is now closed the boys have diversified into baby leaf spinach, pumpkins, popcorn, and continue to grow beetroot, onions, asparagus, as well as dryland wheat and canola.

During the 1950s, 60s and 70s vegetable soil management practices were quite hard on the soil, but at the time it wasn’t evident what we were doing in the long term to the soil. The light soils along the river lost their organic matter and structure. More cultivation was required and nutrients were easily leached below the shallow crop root zones, adding cost and acidifying the soil.

Ed and James have taken a whole farm approach to rebuilding the soils on Mulyan Farms after more than 60 years of intensive cultivation and vegetable cropping. Carefully planned crop rotations, reduced tillage and cover crops have all been used to revitalize the soil and enhance its productivity.  

The Soil Wealth and ICP team are happy to have Mulyan Farms continue to participate and demonstrate sustainable, best management practices into Phase 2 of the project. Ed is still focusing on cover crops, but managing the residue to primarily assist weed control and improve vegetable quality are big factors. Depending on the following cash crop, roller crimping, mulching, and strip tillage are all possible options.