Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Scraps for the Goats!

Posted on : October 23rd, 2023 by Django Cogez

To minimise food waste, our seconds grade produce (of which there’s very little), goes to our staff as a sweet “work perk”.. But for the rest of the organic scraps – greens trimmings and bruised fruit and veg – we have a very cute arrangement!…

Eky started breeding Nigerian dwarf goats for her fifth child who ails from severe eczema after birth when she moved to her farm late 2020. Using the colostrum as well as milk for her son has saved tonnes of cries and sleepless nights.

Eky McCrae of Catan Farm, Brierfield

Since then, Eky has been keeping up with a programme raising higher percentage Nigerian Dwarfs on her farm in Brierfield NSW.

The goats have been enjoying sumptuous scraps each week courtesy of Bello Food Box. They get visibly excited when they see the white boxes arrive, and then tuck in to the cauliflower leaves, marked tomatoes, bruised pears and lettuce leaves.

But goats aren’t the only lucky animals on the farm. There are Southdown Babydoll sheep, guinea fowls, chickens, dogs and cats that enjoy hanging out and helping themselves to the scraps too!

About Nigerian Goats In Australia

The Nigerian Dwarf goat is a miniature breed of dairy goat originating in West Africa and developed in the United States. The first breed genetics were imported to Australia in 2013. 

Dwarf goats are characteristically a high milk producing miniature dairy breed at around 1.8 litres per day. Their milk has a higher butterfat content than milk from full-sized dairy goats, averaging 6.5% according to the American Dairy Goat Association. Later in lactation, butterfat can go up to 10% or even higher. This makes the Dwarf goat milk excellent for cheese and soap making. 

Interested In A Pet Goat?

Easy to train, this, along with their small size and colourful appearance also makes them popular as pets.

You can contact Eky if you are interested in a pet goat!

Owner/breeder: Eky McRae

Contact number: 0428890910

Stud name:Catan Farm

Stud Prefix: Catan

PIC: NI489738

Location: Brierfield/Bellingen NSW

Member of: MGBA / AABMGS / NDGSA

Does Bello Beef vaccinate their cattle with mRNA?

Posted on : September 25th, 2023 by Django Cogez

Does Bello Beef vaccinate their cattle with mRNA?


The Bello Beef team get this question a LOT, so they thought they would attempt to answer.

The following is written by the Bello Beef Team of Levenvale Organic Farm:

The answer is not a simple one, but to explain our position here’s an overview. PLEASE don’t quote me on any of this information, it’s self-researched! Happy to discuss further if anyone wants to contact me directly.

We do not vaccinate our cattle with the “mRNA” vaccine.

Sometimes I get asked if we use the “covid” vaccine on our cattle; what this refers to (I assume), is an MRNA vaccine, a new technology vaccine (same technology as the COVID vaccine). The NSW Govt has announced (last year) that they have invested in MRNA vaccine development for livestock diseases (to be ready by August 2023). These are likely to be used for an outbreak of Lumpy Skin Disease. The other “threatening” disease is Foot & Mouth Disease (which has never been in Australia). FMD has a current “live virus” vaccine sitting in the UK (as the “live” virus is not permitted to be stored in Australia). LSD doesn’t have a current vaccine, hence the discussion around an MRNA vaccine. If either of these diseases get into Australia, there will be major disruption to the cattle industry – there are plans to prevent the spread, eliminate the risk, should the disease/s spread to Aussie shores. Whether the government will mandate a vaccine at that stage or at any stage is not known.

Here at Levenvale Farm, we would opt NOT to vaccinate with the mRNA vaccine and I believe/hope it would not be mandated, particularly for organic producers with domestic consumption only. My interpretation is that the vaccine will keep export markets open for the beef industry (in the case of an outbreak). Any country that has these livestock diseases, doesn’t export. Australia exports 70% of the cattle grown here. You can make your own assumptions, I‘m just relaying what I have read and discussed with various people in the industry.

Whilst on the topic of vaccines, there are many many other vaccines available to cattle.

We routinely use one at weaning – it’s a non-GMO vaccine called 5in1, which is approved under our organic certification. This protects our young cattle from enterotoxaemia (pulpy kidney disease), tetanus, black disease, malignant oedema (blackleg-like disease).

Perhaps like you, since COVID, we have been asking lots of questions and similarly we are now questioning how essential the use of this 5in1 in our young cattle actually is. We have begun trials with small numbers of our herd NOT administering this 5in1, and I have consulted with holistic vets around the risks for the animals and we hope to transition out of using it. We have a very strong focus on ethical animal treatment, and watching animals become sick or even die from disease isn’t something we take lightly. We have (years ago) had an outbreak of Pesti-virus and lost many of our cattle. Pesti-Virus is preventable (so they say) from another vaccine, however we don’t use this routinely. We did use it in 2020 to save our herd.

There are many health burdens for which farmers broadly vaccinate or medicate their entire herd cattle (Liver Fluke, Pink Eye, Worms, Parasites.. the list goes on) that we proudly do not. We will however medicate sick animals if and when they require it.

Over the past couple of years we have “closed” our mob, so we don’t buy cattle from other areas (cattleyards etc) and therefore we don’t expose our cattle to other contagious health risks. We are managing our land and our cattle to prevent health issues eg, allowing pastures to rest, breaks the life cycle of many parasites. We are seeing a fantastic improvement in our cattle’s health each year (touch wood).

That’s a quick overview, hope it answers some questions. It’s all very vague out there until an outbreak. Let’s hope there’s not one. When and if I have access to more information I will happily share it.

Georgina (& Sam)

Bello Beef

Spring Produce Update

Posted on : September 12th, 2023 by Django Cogez

Lets Talk About Quality … Baby!

Posted on : April 20th, 2023 by Django Cogez

In our many years working in the organic scene, 2022 was probably the worst year we’ve seen for quality and availability…

Flooding destroyed crops and produce was often mould or rot affected from too much moisture. Farm labour was also a big issue. International backpackers are usually a large part of the harvest trail workforce, but Covid removed the welcome mat for overseas travellers. There were also less local workers involved too. This meant there was a much smaller pool of growers to source from.

So we generally saw lower quality and higher prices 😫

However, this year we are starting to see things improve markedly. Thanks to the drier weather with a weakening of La Niña, more farmers coming back to full steam, and an entering into a great time of year for growing.

We are also seeing gradual price drops across multiple lines.

If you’ve been burnt by sub par quality and have gone elsewhere, we recommend giving us another go as we think you’ll be impressed with the quality we are seeing from growers now.

Quality Control

One of our main focuses is making sure all produce is very carefully checked before it’s allowed on our packing floor. We’ve emphasised with the packing team to be fussy with quality.

The quality control job was quite smooth last week though as produce was just looking so good!

Some happy snaps of this week’s awesome quality produce

Again though, if we slip and you’re ever less than impressed with anything you receive, flick us an email or text and with a pic and we’ll of course fix it up!