Lime growers take biological approach to farming

NO MORE CITY LIFE: David Hunt at his Tinana lime farm.
NO MORE CITY LIFE: David Hunt at his Tinana lime farm. Contributed

A TINANA lime farm has started to adopt a new biological approach to farming.

David and Kim Hunt are in their third year of agriculture and focusing on improving soil health and reducing chemical fertilisers on their four-and-a-half hectares of lime trees.

We had no farming background, but had had enough of city life.

The couple said they had no experience with limes when they purchased their orchard in 2012.

"We had no farming background, but had enough of city life," Mr Hunt said.

"And we wanted a change of lifestyle that could allow us to be with our family."

Mrs Hunt said the family, which includes teenage son Nick, wanted a big change in lifestyle.

"We were frustrated with city life," she said.

Mr Hunt said the family was keen to have horses, chickens and its own vegetable gardens.

"During the first year, the orchard produced only 30 tonnes of fruit for sale, due to some pest problems," he said.

"In the second year, it produced 100 tonnes and we started packing our own fruit."

The Hunts said managing the farm had been a huge learning curve.

"We are enjoying the challenge and loving the lifestyle," Mr Hunt said.

"Our biggest challenges have been working through the myriad of information and opinions on how best to farm.

"And most recently, the drought."

Mr Hunt said while limes could be picked year round, the dry weather had a significant impact on crops.

And he said pests could be problematic.

They had bought lady bugs to try and manage scale insects.

But he said they were still struggling to combat the broad mite.

"We're still trying to find a biological solution to that one," Mr Hunt said.

"We don't want to go back to the place, where we were spraying with chemicals."

Limes picked from the property are sent to market and in the summer months, often exported to Asia.

With the support of the Sunfresh Co-op, Mr Hunt said their limes were sent to markets around Australia.

"They also go direct to the big chains," he said.

Topics:  horticulture orchards