IN THE BEGINNING...
The Probitas System was developed by farmers for farmers
Ewan Campbell is a typical ‘kiwi bloke' who grew up on his father's dairy farm near Te Aroha and became thoroughly familiar with what constitutes poor and deficient land. He bought a property near Waihi and began farming on what was initially very depleted soils holding some of the highest aluminium levels of any soils in the world according to Brookside Laboratory. During sixteen years of observations and trials Ewan developed an eco-safe and sustainable system of farming based on complete mineral and biological balance. He also undertook a period of study of soil testing methodology with Brookside Laboratory from the United States.
After applying what has become known as The Probitas system to his property the property now has lush and nutritious herb, clover and grass pastures growing in a rapidly developing, biologically active soil which forms the foundation for a successful and sustainable organic farming business supplying beef and lamb to Cambrian meats. The New Zealand patented Probitas product is now and used as part of the Probitas system by farmers nationwide and is endorsed by hundreds of users throughout the country. The system enjoys organic certification by both Agriquality and Biogro.
Ewan's achievements began to attract attention and a growing stream of people came to see the farm. More publicity courtesy of the media led to a steady stream of interested people from all over the country keen to learn the system. Some of these people began the process of learning the system and applying it to their own farms. Their success led them to begin promoting The Probitas system in their own areas. These people formed themselves into The Probitas group.
Malcolm Campbell moved onto a bare peat block on the edge of the Hauraki Plains in the early 1950's where there was only 12 foot high scrub and proceeded to break the land in. This was done through crushing T tree with giant rollers and then ploughing with large swamp ploughs pulled by caterpillar tractors. Starting from scratch allows certain processes to be seen for what they are instead of being muddied from previous peoples work. There were many indications on what has unraveled over the proceeding 50 years as to some of the vagaries of soil science and production which were observed by Malcolm Campbell and his father Sam.
Through to 1982 cattle and sheep were farmed and on my departure from school a cow shed was erected supposedly to keep me in a job. For the next 10 years on and off between overseas travel I milked cows, ploughed paddocks and cleaned drains yet the yearning to go back to beef farming remained and the desire to see what farming away from the peat would be like was strong.