At Bannister Downs Farm, nurturing our environment is front of mind every day because we know it is in the interests of our dairy herd, our team, our family and our consciences. We extend that philosophy beyond the farm gate because we believe in doing our part to reduce our foot- (and hoof!) print on the environment.
The dairy industry often faces criticism about its impact on the environment, including natural waterways and ecosystems. You can rest assured at Bannister Downs Farm, we do not allow effluent or chemical run off from our property into waterways, nor do we rely on river or lake systems to meet our operational needs. This is the benefit of being located in a high-rainfall location ideally suited to dairy farming. All the water we need is collected in our dams and tanks from rainfall events, or pumped from our underground water resources. We are very fortunate in that the high rainfall we receive each year (av. 1200mm), means that there is no need to irrigate our pastures. As has been said many times, ‘in Northcliffe it rains for ten months of the year and drips the other two!’
We have retained a significant amount of uncleared land area within our property at Bannister Downs as we believe this is important to provide wind breaks, shelter and also to maintain a balanced eco-system. We focus on promoting a healthy and vigorous growth of our existing pastures and since our partnership was formed (2014) with Mrs Gina Rinehart, we have worked with her team to rehabilitate ex-blue gum plantation acreage, returning the soil to healthy, nutrient rich pastures once again. This is a significant benefit to our community, to have investment to rehabilitate plantation areas back to balanced, productive pastures and shows a genuine commitment to the long term growth of agriculture in Australia.
When it comes to chemical and pesticide use, we believe in minimal intervention at Bannister Downs. For us this means that we try to avoid using any chemicals and make every effort to prevent issues before we reach the point of needing to intervene with a man-made compound. As we are in the business of growing nutritious grass for Our Girls, we spread a blend of fertiliser products on our paddocks throughout the growing season, most of which are natural products such as dolomite lime and the solids from our natural water filtration system which re-purposes the wash down water we use in our dairy. We do use a small amount of pesticide if we see signs of red-legged mites which are incredibly detrimental to our all-important clover pastures. We only use the weed-killer glyphosate (commonly known as Round Up) to eradicate declared weeds on our farm.
With increasing concern surrounding pollution and emissions, we feel it’s our responsibility to assess our own carbon footprint and consider ways we can make changes to our business to improve and reduce our impact on the environment.
Many years ago we worked with LifeCycle Logic to produce a full carbon assessment of our farming and manufacturing business as it currently stood at the time. This was to produce a baseline to move forward from and to have the ability to measure the true benefits of any changes that we implement. This assessment was carried out under International Dairy Federation standards and now allows us to be informed and aware of our business’s carbon status and which means we’re able to start a new carbon energy improvement journey. For us it is important that any changes that we make do have a genuine improvement in relation to emissions, pollution (reduction of) or conservation of energy. Being able to measure the improvement makes it a meaningful journey for us.
We plan to make significant changes such as increasing our use of solar energy, considering heat pumps, bio-diesel power generation and to look at all options for methane collection, to further offset our impact. We will repeat this original assessment in the future to measure our progress, ensuring accountability and transparency, because we want to do the right thing for our farm and our environment.
This is a long and dynamic journey but we’re excited about the future and how Bannister Downs can become an example of the possibilities in sustainable, socially responsible and environmentally friendly business and farming practices.
If you are looking for the closest location to purchase your Bannister Downs Fresh milk, creams and flavoured milks, head to our store locator where you will find a list to choose from, according to your most convenient location
Designed over several years by Bosske architects and constructed by Perkins Builders (Bunbury) the Creamery was a large and exciting project for everyone involved. Apart from winning several design and construction awards, it is a wonderful place to see our girls each day, to process, fill and dispatch our products daily and to do our best to look after our team and customers from our administration. Click here to read in more detail