“It has certainly been one of the best things we could have done for our farming career and been a great investment of our time,” Pete and Marnie said.
“You can bury your head in the sand and think if you just keep working hard it will come together one day. But for us, being involved in the Focus Farm made us make time to stop, draw on others’ experience and advice – and make some changes that have helped us see some real improvements.”
|The Kerr's Bostocks Creek farm challenges and goals
|Improve water infrastructure to reduce reliance on town water and improve water supply throughout farm.
|Improve time efficiency on farm by reducing the time for the dairy chores including milking and feeding.
|Increase profitability through improved management of pastures, feeding and reproduction.
|Reduce debt and increase equity in the business to allow for future expansion.
|Have a support group that provides a valued network that shares relatable ideas, compares benchmark data and works towards achieving business goals.
One of the Kerrs’ goals for their farms is to improve water infrastructure to reduce reliance on town water and improve water supply throughout farm. They have achieved this with the addition of a large storage tank to feed the farm, reducing their reliance on mains pressure that was inadequate. The Kerrs have also planned to recommission bores that have been out of action for several years and to install a dam for surface water collection.
Another goal is to improve time efficiency on farm by reducing the time for the dairy chores including milking and feeding. The Kerrs’ have achieved this by making a number of changes, including hiring additional labour and making small changes to calf rearing such as purchasing new bulk feeders. Currently, they are researching improvements to the dairy to decrease milking time and increase ease of operation.
With the advice of the support group the Kerrs have improved management of pastures, feeding and reproduction to increase profitability. The farm has also been able to achieve significant debt reduction.
Pete and Marnie said that the unexpected benefits of being Focus Farmers was the networking opportunities and friendships formed.
“The networking opportunities have been amazing given the various backgrounds of the support group participants. It’s been great to meet new people and make new friendships, and everyone has been open and encouraging.”
Pete and Marnie initially had reservations about applying to become a Focus Farm.
“Our main concern was finding the time for the Focus Farm commitments on top of already feeling worn out with a young family and farm,” they said.
However, the Kerrs decided to apply as they felt it could take them in the right direction, and it has paid off. They encourage others to consider the program and commit to it, as the benefits are well worth the effort.
“We’ve developed confidence in ourselves, in our decision making, and a feeling of being a little more in control.
“You’ll never feel like you have the time to take it on. But if you commit to it and put the effort in, you will see yourselves, your farm, and your family move ahead in leaps and bounds.”
If you are interested in becoming a Focus Farm, fill out this form and a member of the WestVic Dairy team will be in touch.