Neil and Keryn Gannon have a simple goal from their Focus Farm period – to get more time off for Neil
Working seven days a week, Neil has spent years battling an outdated irrigation system on his Tinamba farm and now wants to use the Focus Farm experience to investigate and implement modernisation.
Milking 470 crossbreds this year, Neil sees his watering infrastructure as the key to a better work-life balance and to improvements in other parts of the farm business.
“I want to set the irrigation up properly for more time off,” he said.
“It’s where I spend most of my time, which means I can’t get everything else right around the farm.”
A recent modernisation of delivery points through the water system is the first step in the Gannon’s irrigations redevelopment. From there, Neil will take advice from his Focus Farm support group as he weighs up the options.
“I hope we’ll be confident enough to spend the money on getting a more modernised irrigation system in place,” he said.
“We’ve just modernised all our delivery points through the farm from the pipeline system and that should make life a lot easier with automated outlets.”
“We need to lift production, but a lot of that is to do with irrigation. When we get it right, we seem to grow grass alright.”
For Keryn, restoring work-life balance is the number one priority of the Focus Farm.
“I’d like to get things set up so he doesn’t run himself into the ground with work, which is what is happening. That’s the main thing,” she said.
“Everything just falls apart because he works too hard. He has no life. It’s not fair on him or us.
“With all the wise heads involved in this Focus Farm, hopefully we will figure out what we should and shouldn’t be doing.”
By the end of the two year Focus Farm period, Neil hopes he will have a better idea of where the farm business is heading, with the support group and co-facilitators John Mulvany and Karen Romano helping to steer them in the right direction.
“I’d heard that previous Focus Farmers had been very happy with the results they got from it and that it had set them up better for the future,” he said.
“It’s been tough going with the weather and everything else, so I thought we could get a few heads together and see what their ideas were.
“You can always learn – I’m always interested in new things.”
267ha: total available farm area
227 ha owned + 40ha leased
- 490 cows (peak 01/11/17): crossbred 460kg, average cow age 6-7 years
- Annual stocking rate 3.9 cows/ milking ha
- R1 (0-12 months): 168
- R2 (12-24 months): 180
Farm: 2,572,010L/ 113,503kg fat/ 88,040kg protein/ 201,534kgMS
Per cow: 5,249L/ 232kg fat/ 180kg protein/ 411kgMS
| Calving pattern
|| Single calving: 1 August (10 weeks)/ herd dried off completely in July
- 4.5tDM/ cow (2017-18)
- 1.1tDM/ cow concentrate
- 0.4tDM/ cow purchased fodder (hay and almond hulls)
- 0.4tDM/ cow home-grown pasture silage
- 2.6tDM/ cow grazed feed
| Cropping and fodder
|| Oats sown on 11ha dryland support area
| Irrigation system and water right
- Flood irrigation with mainly 3' bay outlets
- 2 tail-water reuse systems
- Newly installed pipeline delivery system 1900m
- Still some 6" and 4" clay/ poly pipes
- 2 x reuse ponds with diesel motors
- 680ml high reliability water shares
- 300ish low reliability water shares
| Soil type
|| Clay loam, some red