Joel Salatin NSW Masterclasses: the details

| Animal Systems, Courses + Workshops, Farming | comments | Author :

milkwoodpolyface YCF

We can’t wait to host Joel Salatin for 3 one-day masterclasses in February. This will be the first time that Joel will present the in-depth specifics of the various integrated animal systems of Polyface Farm to a NSW audience.

Leading on from our previous 2 years of working with Joel, we very much wanted to get specific with him for these masterclasses. The Polyface Farm animal systems are fantastic to look at from the outside, but what about all the little important details? How do you design for producing 200 clean eggs a day in the eggmobile laying boxes, so you don’t have to wash them all?  How to make your small farm systems cost-efficient enough to ensure you’re still farming in 2 years time, edging forwards with fertility and security?

So this time around, Joel is all about the detail. The three masterclasses are split into: You Can Farm (an overview of designing for successful small farm enterprise setup, including marketing and buying club systems), Pastured Poultry (egg laying systems, broiler systems, turkey systems, on-farm processing, direct marketing) and Pastured Beef + Pork (mob stocked beef systems, pigerator and pastured pork systems, direct marketing)

I thought I’d share the curriculums of the 3 masterclasses at this point, so that you can get a feel for what’s involved in these three days. Even if you’re not able to come, the curriculums below give lots of insights as to areas of importance for planning small farm systems of this kind.

milkwoodpolyface YCF

YOU CAN FARM: 17 Feb: Kiama NSW

Common Visioningthe most important energy on the farm is between yours ears, and nothing drains it faster than spousal or familial
        disagreement and distraction.  We have to get the team on the same bus before we can talk about which seats each rider will occupy.



  • Buying, leasing, squatting – owning land is NOT necessary to have a successful farm.
  • Equity should be in management, portability, and customers, not land and infrastructure.
  • Portable farms are dynamic because they can be started and ended on a shoestring.
  • Dealing with landlords–caressing that relationship with pot sweeteners

Informationwhere do you get it, how do you categorize it and store it.


Production principles

  • Everything is portable.
  • Base it on perennials
  • Develop complex synergistic plant/animal relationships
  • Close the carbon cycle–in-source fertility
  • Hydration–ponds, water systems
  • Time and motion studies–run it like a business and shoot for efficiency.  Know your data.

Value adding

  • If the middle man makes all the money, then be one
  • Regulations–lots of ways to skin a cat
  • Watch your margins
  • Collaboration–commercial kitchens;  other businesses
  • Pricing


  • Many different venues:  CSA, on-farm, Metropolitan Buying Clubs, Restaurant, farmer’s market, electronic aggregator
  • Spinning your story – what do people need to know
  • Packaging and bundling – product presentation and choice
  • Diversification – duplicating the one-stop-shop, including collaboration
  • Selling the experience – it’s as valuable as the product


  • Non-employee team members – empower through customized remuneration packages
  • Complement your weaknesses – the skills to be successful normally don’t all grow on one set of legs
  • Delegate so as you age, you gravitate toward the things you enjoy and do best


  • Everything needs to be structured so it can outlive you
  • Labor – employee, subcontractor, intern, mentor
  • Legacy farming

milkwoodpolyface beef pork

Pastured Beef and Pork: 19 Feb: Kiama NSW

Landscape design

  • Water systems
  • Access patterns–where are we going to drive?
  • Geography and terrain–hilltops, valleys, wet spots

Field layout

  • Topography defines – no straight fences
  • What kind of fencing
  • Permanent vs. portable – the 3-year rule
  • Corral location and herd flow – where to place gates


  • Principles of herding
  • Corral design and layout
  • Loading
  • Frequency

Mob stocking – movement

  • Frequency
  • Monitoring–watch the manure
  • Average daily gain vs. gain per acre
  • Utilization

Grass finishing – the pie concept

  • Breed
  • Sugar – brix
  • Gain
  • Comfort
  • Maturity
  • Adrenalin
  • Enzymes post-slaughter
  • Cooling rapidity
  • Cooking

Fertility management

  • Carbon sequestration – grass growth cycle
  • Composting from winter housing – pigaerating
  • Winter manure – leveraging vs. losing


  • Feeding – hay and stockpiled forage
  • Housing – to shed or not to shed


  • To drug or not to drug
  • Line breeding – Daniel’s rabbits as a template
  • Animal abuse accusations

milkwoodpolyface poultry


Portable shelter

  • Broilers
  • Turkeys
  • Layers
; Millenium Feathernet
 / Eggmobiles


  • Heritage vs. non heritage – what are they and rationales for all
  • What we really need – linebred hatcheries selecting for pastured performance


  • Five chicks to one turkey
  • Bedding–deep bedding discussion
  • When to go outside – temperatures and weather
  • Vermin impregnability

Care in the field

  • Water and infrastructure
  • Feed and infrastructure
  • Efficiency


  • Margins of the different enterprises
  • Figuring pricing
  • Whole birds
  • Parts and pieces
  • Feed and materials costs


  • Regulations and getting around them
  • Efficiency and infrastructure
  • Technique


  • Guard dogs and other guard animals
  • Trapping and otherwise injecting humans into the environment
  • People on farms


  • Rations and their importance
  • When to intervene and when not to
  • Weather is the biggest variable

Season extension

  • Extending outdoor shelters with modifications
  • Winter housing – hoophouses: Multi-purpose
 / Internal infrastructure


  • Where to get it
  • How to handle it efficiently
  • Alternative sources

Added to all this knowledge of Joel’s, we always appreciate the exisiting knowledge in the room – all the farmers and folks connected to food production who come along and add their incredible wealth of local knowledge to the day… lunchtime is major networking and discussion time for everyone! You never know who you’ll meet…

Joel Salatin NSW Masterclasses 2013

Kiama Pavilion, Kiama NSW (1.5 hrs south of Sydney, accessible by cityrail trainline and a 4 minute walk  to the venue)

Please join us if you’re able, and help us spread the word! These masterclasses are a great idea for anyone hoping to farm one day, or wanting to change how they currently farm, as well as folks wanting to access world-class knowledge on regenerative, ethical  small-farm systems for reasons of advocacy, local food system building and consumer education.

We also recommend these masterclasses to any budding or practicing permaculture designers and teachers, as the techniques explained are a great addition to your knowledge when advising or educating about integrated permaculture food production.

It’s going to be an extraordinary three days. We hope to see you there.

milkwoodpolyface YCF

>> More posts about Joel Salatin, including our previous Joel Salatin workshop resources

For masterclass dates in Queensland, head over to our mates at Milkwood proudly presents Joel Salatins’ 2013 masterclass series in association with RegenAG and HeenanDoherty.

See the comments

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10 responses to “Joel Salatin NSW Masterclasses: the details

  1. Hi Kirsten – we’ve got just the production coy that would LOVE to film these workshops, share with you and use them to teach young people too via our social enterprise at The Big Feed. Oh and that means I’d have to come along of course 😉

  2. I’d like to add my two cents into requesting an online or email able version. I read about all your classes with envy for those able to attend but it’s just not possible for me and my family. I would happily pay to see even the notes from such a class if videoing isn’t practical. Looks like you’ve a good audience already for such a venture 🙂

    Keep up the great work Milkwood!

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