DairyTas have announced the new Focus Farm Project. The Project is an initiative funded by Dairy Australia. The project will be over the next 2 years and will have a strong focus on business performance and the “bottom line”.
Dave and Jane Field
Farm location and details
The farm is located at Montagu, in the heart of the most intensively farmed region of Tasmania, Circular Head, North West Tasmania.
Total area = 800 ha. Dairy Platform = 450 effective hectares + Grazing/support block = 300 effective hectares. 250 ha under irrigation.
Split calving system. 500 cows calved in the Autumn and 900 cows calving this spring.
The Fields will peak milk 1400 cows this year aiming for a total of 525,000 kg milk solids 2017/18 milking on a Once a Day milking system.
Pasture focused system – aiming to grow and harvest more pasture over time.
How long have they been farming for?
Dave and Jane have been farming in Tasmania for 2 years, but have progressed through the Dairy Industry in New Zealand.
They are both graduates of Lincoln University. They progressed up through the dairy industry. Managing farms, 50/50 sharemilking and onto farm ownership in 2006. They purchased a dairy farm to develop and subsequently two grazing blocks located at Murchison near the top of the South Island, NZ. The dairy farm in NZ is currently managed by a sharefarmer.
What type of herd – breed / size?
The herd is made up of Holstein and XBred cows. Going forward the emphasis will be on gaining genetic merit and increasing the proportion of XBred cows in the herd. The Fields see this as an important step as they focus on increasing pasture utilisation and adapting to the Once A Day milking system.
What step are they at when it comes to their business development?
The business has been in a developing and growing phase in the last 20 months. Development will continue on during the Focus Farm Project. The Fields goal is to develop the farm to operate a simple pasture based system, focused on growing and harvesting more pasture over time, by increasing soil fertility, irrigation, pasture species, cow genetics and management. Part of this development process was the change to a permanent once a day milking system in May this year.
Is this an open group or not?
There will be up to 6 open days over the life of the project. The first open day will be held November 1st 2017 on the farm.
There is a support group which meet bi-monthly and is a closed group. Basil Doonan from Macquarie Franklin will be the lead consultant for the 2 year project. Other support group members consist of several farmers from around Tasmania and other professional expertise as required.
What benefits will there be to other local farmers having this Focus Farm on their doorstep?
Many Dairy Farmers are seeking to increase efficiencies and better work/life balance while focussing on the bottom line. Over the life of this project, farmers will have the opportunity to look at various strategies that will be applied on farm to improve the bottom line and balance priorities in the farming business. The open days will allow opportunities to talk to the farmers and will allow people to see the progress that is being made and understand the rationale behind the decisions and the outcome.