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TAS Country : July 2010
10 Tasmanian Country Friday, July 30, 2010 Dairying A family for all seasons The scene on Terry and Jan Lane's farm resembles a postcard but there's nothing picturesque about the temperature in the Whitehall dairy on a cold and frosty July morning, writes Jennifer Crawley FARMERS Terry, 60, and Jan Lane, 57, are a rare breed. Traditional dairy farmers, they live and work together on a 25ha dairy property called Whitehall at Lawitta in the Derwent Valley. Locals still talk about the days they went to Whitehall for real milk scooped out of the vat with a jug and poured into buckets, a practice once common on dairy farms across Tasmania and Australia. Cheaper than the supermarket and before the politically correct days of pasteurisation and weight watchers, the milk tasted like real milk and, if it sat for a while, the fat floated to the top. Every day for 37 years, Terry and Jan have climbed out of bed at 6am to milk their mob of Friesian cows. The Lanes are very busy weaning loads off the 80-strong herd. Right now they are feeding 48 calves. The River Derwent flows past the mob as the cattle graze in early morning light in paddocks on the outskirts of New Norfolk. Terry and Jan's son, Adam, 34, helps out on the dairy every weekend. Adam works as a bricklayer during the week and lives with his young family in New Norfolk. The Lanes' daughter Karen is a nurse in Hobart and has a young family. Terry and Adam were working together in the dairy on a freezing cold Saturday when I called in a week ago. ''It's a bit fresh,'' Adam said. Jan had pulled a muscle lambing the day before and was slow to rise. ''She's done a groin pulling lambs out yesterday,'' Adam said. The Lanes also run fat lambs and merino sheep on two soldier settlement blocks at Ouse and Hamilton. They sell their milk to National Foods and the Bruny Island Cheese Company. The Bruny Island Cheese courier drops off a selection of cheeses each week for the dairying family. '' Very nice, beautiful cheeses,'' said Adam. ''I look forward to it.'' The Lanes are extra busy on their Ouse and Hamilton properties feeding and checking on newborn lambs and their mothers everyday. Mother and son were off to their Ouse property that Saturday morning to drench and vaccinate 700 ewes after breakfast. ''It's all work and no play at the moment,'' Jan said. ''You get a run of four or five in one mob. It's hard to pick, you just have to wait. ''You don't know whether to interfere or just let it be. You see the nose coming and you think she'll be right.'' Terry goes over to Melbourne twice a year to watch his football team Carlton play. Apart from that the Lanes don't have holidays. ''It's just Terry and I,'' Jan said. A local man helps out with the evening milking on Whitehall. ''He comes in of an afternoon and he usually gets things ready for us and has the cows organised,'' Jan said. Last year Terry had a bad accident and hurt his back. ''We just managed between ourselves,'' Jan said. Nuts and bolts Whitehall is 25ha. We run 80 Friesian cows. We have an autumn and spring calving and milk all year round. We buy in dairy replacements, young dairy heiffers and mate all our cows with a Hereford bull. We rear all our calves. We sell our steers which are Hereford-Friesian cross to store markets. We mate the Hereford-Friesian cross heiffers and sell them for vealer mothers and there is always a good demand for them. Westfield at Hamilton is 242ha. We run 800 Corriedale ewes, mate them with composite lambs and sell the lambs off the ewes in November. Seasons permitting we cut silage and hay on that property. Wenlock is 365ha and is at Ouse. We run 1400 Merino ewes and surplus cattle. We put composite lambs out with them. 91 Bass Hwy, Somerset 7322 Phone 6435 1104 Fax 6435 2634 4 Carins Street, Longford 7310 Phone 6391 2600 Fax 6391 2633 www.gaffneymachinery.com.au 1539-PA/G TRACTORS • Sales • Service • Spare Parts
August 5th 2010