Come and discover Noondel, the home of Dandaragan Organic Beef.
About the Farm
Our farm, called Noondel, is located 200 kilometres north of Perth in the Dandaragan region. The Cook family has farmed this land for more than 100 years. In total Noondel, plus another nearby property called Tekymbah, comprises 7300 acres of land. The entire area is dedicated to producing cattle for Dandaragan Organic Beef.
Both properties were converted to organic in 2000, which means they do not use pesticides, artificial fertilisers, hormones or antibiotics. Instead we use organic farming principles, grazing methods that mimic those of wild herding animals, perennial pastures and low stress stock handling methods. After more than 40 years of farming David believes this holistic approach to farming has returned his land to optimum fertility and his cattle herd to peak health.
We have around 2000 head of cattle. They roam in big herds, are moved onto fresh pasture and water every couple of days and have access to mineral supplements.
We use low stress stock handling methods to ensure that our cattle are quiet and contented. Usually that means we can open a gate and whistle for the cattle to go into the next paddock instead of rounding cattle up with utes and motorbikes. The cattle are happy to move because they know they are moving onto a new paddock with fresh pastures.We breed the majority of our own cattle, using both Red Angus and Square Meater cattle breeds. The calves stay with their mothers for a minimum of nine months and are weaned using low stress methods. We also buy in extra cattle from a local organic producer who uses the same farming principles in order to meet demand.
Soil and Pastures
Producing healthy beef starts with creating healthy soil. Soils balanced with natural minerals and full of microbes will create nutritious pastures, healthy cattle and in turn tasty beef brimming with essential vitamins and minerals along with high levels of omega 3 fats.
By using cell grazing methods and planting out more of the farm to perennial pastures our precious topsoil is always protected by pasture cover, which in turn protects soil microbes, builds up humus and prevents erosion. Cell grazing, which basically mimics the natural grazing patterns of large herding animals, allows grasses to grow taller and their roots longer and deeper, which is better for the soil and the cattle.
Every week the cattle that are destined for the market are quietly yarded. David selects between five and 20 of the very best animals, which are then loaded onto a truck with low stress compartments and ample room.
The cattle are transported 100 kilometres to the organic certified Gingin abattoirs. This is always done with minimum noise and haste to ensure the cattle remain calm and relaxed. We do all we can to ensure they remain as calm as possible right to the point where they are stunned before slaughter.
At Dandaragan Organic Beef we want to farm for the future. For us that involved planting trees and perennial, rehabilitating our riparian areas, using solar pumps for our water systems, being involved in soil carbon research and promoting sustainable agriculture by hosting workshops and talking at conferences.