Ben is a 4th generation grain grower from Werrimull, Victoria.
Ben works closely with his family on their 6000-acre property, where they produce wheat and peas.
The Rankin family has recently started to agist livestock over the summer months as well, which keeps the weeds down so they don’t have to summer spray as much.
Ben and his siblings grew up on the farm and were always involved at harvest and sowing time, but his parents encouraged him to learn a trade outside of the farm environment.
He decided to become a qualified electrician, but after completing his apprenticeship he decided it was time to go back to the family farm and get more involved on a full time basis.
“And I haven’t looked back since!”
What is Ben continually striving towards?
“We really put our focus and attention on soil health.
Our property is mostly sandy red loam soil with an average of 100ml of rainfall last year (which is very dry). This means that we are always striving towards making our land ‘drought proof’ instead of just getting by each year with minimal yield. We have done this by experimenting with our soil types using organic fertilisers.
Instead of only using super phosphates chemical fertiliser we research alternative methods. This lead us to Australian Vermiculture. We started experimenting and trialling Australian Vermiculture Fertiliser Products because we wanted to make our country ‘drought proof’ to ensure our soils continue to improve and not just ‘hang in there’ each year with the drought.”
What does Ben love most about his lifestyle in grain?
“I love the flexibility. We have the flexibility to trial new systems and practices and really drive innovation.
We’re always learning about new farming practices to help support our soil heath and plant root systems in order to grow consistent crops. That’s what I’m really passionate about.”
What can Ben rely on his mates in the grain industry for?
“There’s nothing better than sitting down with a beer and chatting all things farming to bounce ideas off one another.”