Rupert and Nikki Schmidt

Photo courtesy of Graziher Magazine

Where do you live?

Home is “Mooning Station”, a 65,000 acre organic rangelands property about 32 kilometres south of Eulo in Queensland.

Rupert, my husband, and I met at school in Brisbane.  After a few years of a long distance relationship, we both got jobs operating machinery in the coal mines in Queensland’s Central Highlands.  After ten years in mines and investing carefully we achieved our goal of buying our own cattle property.  We left the mines and moved with our little girl out to “Mooning Station” to live and have since had another little girl.

“Mooning” was run down when we bought it, which suited us perfectly because we’ve been able to improve it and put our own stamp on it.  We have installed a lot of water infrastructure including drilling a new bore, which taps into the Great Artesian Basin.  The water has enough pressure naturally to flow from the bore through poly pipe we installed all over “Mooning Station”, and into about 25 new tanks and troughs.  All without using a pump.  This means that cattle are now grazing in areas that were never able to be grazed before, unless there was ground water about.

We have also done a lot of fencing and clearing and grading of old overgrown fence lines. And installed new cattle yards.

As a family, we like to spend time barbequing and swimming down on the Paroo River which runs through “Mooning Station”.  Down along sides of the Paroo River we have what we refer to as “flood out country”, which means that when the Paroo River floods it covers the country with water and the trees get a good drink.  About 10% of “Mooning Station” is flood out country.  It is different to the rest of the property which is mainly Mulga trees including a lot of low mulga which the cattle graze on.  The flood out country is mainly gidgee trees and yapunyah trees.  The yapunyah tree produces a yellow flower that bees love to eat and then make the most beautiful honey.  We have bee keepers that bring their hives to the flood out country on “Mooning Station” when the yapunyah is flowering from about April to October most years.

Why do you supply cattle to OBE Organic?

It’s a great company, and the founding Directors are all from rangelands properties so they understand how we operate out here.

Why is producing organic food important to you?

I just like to be able to produce a clean and green product that is chemical free.

Producer update: Nikki and Rupert sold their property “Mooning Station” in late 2018, and are moving to the nearby 35,000 acre property “Bando” next door to Rupert’s father – founding OBE Organic Director Peter Schmidt. Located on the Warrego River flood plain with beautiful native grasses, “Bando” is currently not certified organic and Rupert and Nikki are planning to convert this property to organic in the years ahead, just like they did with “Mooning Station”.  Sadly, this means Rupert and Nikki are not currently supplying us, but in the meantime you can read their story above.

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