Occupying an area that was once compared to “the savannahs of Africa”, Savannah Farm is leading the way in stress-free farming and regenerative agriculture, creating an environment where lamb, poultry and free-range heritage pigs are bred and raised humanely and ethically under a strict stress-free program, resulting in superior meat products.
Phil and Michele Lally are the team behind Savannah. Moving back to his family farm after graduating from Roseworthy Agricultural College, Phil worked in the wine industry for several years before meeting Michele. His transition into farming started with what everyone else was doing in the region: broadacre cropping and export hay production and a few sheep for wool and meat.
After questioning the process of spraying and killing one plant to grow other plants, he started to focus on holistic management and regenerative farming. Combining this knowledge with Michele’s experience in event management and food and business consulting, the husband-and-wife team spent more than three years developing the Savannah brand, implementing stress-free and ethical practices to ensure the highest quality products and the best environment for their livestock.
Focusing on sustainability and regenerating the natural environment, they planted out the river system along the farm and incorporated shelter belts and fence lines to provide the stock with shelter from all weather conditions. From there, the attention moved to the psychology of the animals themselves and how they co-existed in their natural environment. Noticing the difference between the growth rate and happiness of the livestock that had been hand reared, they developed a new philosophy around stock handling to ensure the animals were respected and treated well. By not using bikes and dogs in their system, they have maintained an extremely low stress life, which results in a better quality of meat.
The meat flavour and texture profile is designed using a bespoke mix of Savannah Farm grown grain and specific pastures, as well as specialised hand feeding to optimise tenderness and flavour. The stock isn’t the only thing they take good care of. Savannah Farm practices regenerative agriculture, meaning that effort is taken to regenerate their native grasslands and the land they are now caretakers of. The addition of chickens to the farm’s environment is part of the regeneration process, as they have very high levels of nitrogen in their manure and scratch around to aerate and resow seed. Concentrating stock grazing allows large amounts of fertiliser to be concentrated in one area, and regularly moving the stock ensures a balanced diet. These movements replicate herbivore movement through landscapes where the most fertile soils around the world can be found.
The chickens are harvested from October to May, while lamb is available from November to August annually and pork seasonally through the year. So what does it taste like? Known to taste ‘too much like old fashioned lamb’, it has a cleaner mouth feel at the end of each bite. Chefs are also complimentary of the chicken, noting ‘its chicken that really tastes like chicken’, and reflecting the effect that Phil and Michele’s farming processes have on their produce