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This website aims to develop case studies of the development of farming practices and attendant transformations of local ecologies of defined blocks of land. Through these biographies of particular plots of land we are developing localised analyses of the wider historical trends in the political economy/ecology of the Northern Rivers.

Go to: Family history | The Farm | The River | David, Jenny and the Farm | Self-sufficiency and Aquarius | Cattle and floods | The landscape | Other on-farm agriculture | Buying and selling land | Poor economic times | Family partnership on the farm | Mill politics, harvesters and cane cutters | Changing methods | Chemicals | Market impacts and government subsidies | Generational change and succession | Impact on cane growing | Environmental issues | Politics of cane and the mill | Neighbours


Going back to the fertilisers and chemicals, I mean in the bananas you know that was really dreadful stuff. What was happening in cane?

David: probably the same to start with.

Jenny: cane doesn’t use pesticides very much. When planting they put a little bit on but it just goes right on where the, I mean the stalk gets dunked in it.

David: they used to use stuff like Dieldrin. When you planted cane it used to go through a bath of Dieldrin that was obviously the pesticide and they also used to put a fungicide on it which we still do but the Dieldrin got removed and there’s some…lesser….supposedly dangerous chemical used for the bath.

Given that you’ve not been hippies but you were really thinking about your food and stuff like that, was that issue of Dieldrin …did that become an issue?

David:  I don’t think it did then – it wasn’t until after then that the issues of Dieldrin really came to the fore.

Jenny: and we didn’t have it on us, our family, I mean it was only once every five years that you did it because it was only at planting that you did it. And other sprays were pretty much weedicides like Roundup which wasn’t considered to be nearly as poisonous.

David: the Dieldrin would only be involved in any paddock probably every once every ten years.

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