Dairy NSW Focus Farms
Dairy NSW Focus Farm 2018–2020
The aim of the Focus Farms project is to improve farm profitability through various means, such as attention to costs in the business as well as improving the production and utilisation of homegrown feed — one of the main determinants of profitability in a pasture-based dairying system.
The Walsh family, Jaspers Brush
The Dairy NSW Focus Farm for 2018 to 2020 is the Walsh family from Jaspers Brush.
During this two-year project, which commenced in October 2018, the Walshes are supported in on-farm decision making through a support group.
Justin and Libby Walsh have been running Waljasper Holsteins for two-and-a-half years, following succession planning with Justin’s parents Colin and Sue. Justin and Libby lease the farm from Colin and Sue and have bought a portion of the milking platform and the herd.
Justin and Libby have complete operational control of the business and are responsible for all operating costs and capital works costs.
There are also three separate lease blocks; Hannigan's Lane (pasture/cropping), Burrier heifer block and Far Meadow heifer block.
The farm is predominantly a dryland farm, with a small amount of irrigation on the Bottom Farm — a 10-hectare centre pivot and a 6ha traveller. Justin works full time in the business and has one permanent staff member, Matt. Libby, Colin and Sue help on the farm on a casual basis.
Specific goals for the Walsh family include:
- An overall goal of building a highly profitable and resilient business
- Improved understanding of operational costs
- Reducing fixed costs where possible
- Growing and utilising more home-grown feed
- Milking a more 'efficient' cow
- A split calving system and to tighten up autumn and spring calving periods
- Developing and reviewing an annual budget
- Continued analysis of farm financial and physical performance by using DairyBase
Farm facts and figures
- Total area: 214ha
- Effective milking area: 124ha
- Cow numbers: 245 cows, predominantly Friesian herd with approximately 20 stud cows and some Jersey crosses
- Annual stocking rate: 2.0 cows per hecatre
- Calving pattern: Split calving system – 60% autumn, 40% spring
- Heifer blocks: Burrier heifer block, 57ha; Far Meadow heifer block, 80ha; Hannigan's Lane, 14.2ha
- Feeding (2017–18 financial year): 2.3 tonnes of dry matter concentrate per cow (wheat/barley/canola meal mix) + additive 1.9t DM/cow purchased fodder (oaten and vetch hay, maize and grass silage)
- Feedbase: Kikuyu/ryegrass-based pastures
- Plant and equipment:
- Upgraded 90-degree, 24-a-side swingover dairy
- 10,000-litre vat
- Duncan MK4 seeder
- Vicon fertiliser spreader
- Hustler feed cart
- Major Cyclone topper
- Berti mulcher
- Four tractors
- Skiold disc mill and feed system
- Fertiliser: Urea and DAP. Nitrogen applied at 133 kilograms per milking ha (FY2017–18)
Walsh Focus Farm Open Day HandoutPDF, 4.66 MB
Cochrane Focus Farm ProfilePDF, 290.86 KB
Cochrane Focus Farm Open Day ReportsPDF, 1.9 MB
Cochrane Focus Farm Media ReleasesPDF, 3.63 MB
Cochrane Focus Farm Report October 2015PDF, 558.95 KB
Cochrane Focus Farm Report December 2015PDF, 603.64 KB