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TAS Country : November 4th 2010
mber 5, 2010 17 the Lindsay family's property Toiberry at Bishopsbourne. Pictures: KAROLIN MacGREGOR Even last year when the prices dropped we still bought really good quality semen for the cows, because there's no point taking short- cuts with the breeding' ---GLENDA LINDSAY,TOIBERRY old movers enough equity in the property to officially put their names on the deeds. Mr Lindsay said that at the time dairying was the main farming activity in the district and theirs was one of five dairy farms in the area. While Mrs Lindsay skills are with stock management, Mr Lindsay's passion has always been cropping and irrigation. ''If I had an affinity it was with irrigation because even as a kid I was always out watering the vegie garden,'' he said. Flood irrigation was the main system used in those early days and the Lindsays milked cows year round. The first major crop the couple grew was peas and they are still an important part of their cropping rotation. Mr Lindsay said they had grown pea crops of as much as 81ha. Buying up neighbouring land has seen the Lindsays combine seven farms into the one property. The dairy is still a major focus of their farming operation. Mrs Lindsay said their Friesian herd was the result of decades of careful breeding that could be traced back to the family's original herd. ''One thing we've never sacrificed on is the breeding,'' Mrs Lindsay said. ''Even last year when the prices dropped we still bought really good- quality semen for the cows, because there's no point taking shortcuts with the breeding.'' Mr Lindsay said udder conformation was one of their main priorities for the dairy herd. ''We want them all with nice high udders so they're up out of the way and not down in the mud,'' he said. The family's rotary dairy is fully automated, with cup removers, teat sprays and electronic drafting gates, backing-up gates and wash-down system. Mr Lindsay said installing the latest technology in the dairy meant more efficiency. ''One person can come here and milk 600 cows without any problems,'' he said. ''It's about making the best use of the labour available and everyone has a lifestyle out of it, we're not spending hours and hours in the dairy.'' Unlike many dairy producers who calve in spring, the Lindsays milk all their herd through the winter. Calving takes place in February and the cows are normally dried off by the end of December. Mr Lindsay said their milking system was designed to work in with the natural growing cycle of their pastures. Irrigation of pastures normally finishes by the end of November and starts again in February. He said trying to irrigate pastures through the hotter months when evaporation was at the highest was a waste of water. Instead, the water at that time is used on the more valuable crops. ''We manage our irrigation and grazing pretty carefully to get the most out of our pastures,'' Mr Lindsay said. ''We value our irrigation water, so we're careful about where we put it.'' The family runs about 950 cattle, including cows and young stock. They rear about 200 calves a year using an automatic calf-feeding system that was installed four years ago. Mr Lindsay's hobby is driving his excavator, and the kilometres of gravel roads that run right throughout the farm are evidence of that. All the laneways, particularly the ones leading to the dairy, are designed to eliminate mud in winter and provide all-year access right across the property. Irrigation is a vital part of the family's farming operation. Most of their 1600ML of irrigation water is supplied through the Cressy Longford Irrigation Scheme, as well as dams on the farm and water from the Whitemore Irrigation Scheme. The family installed their first centre pivot irrigator in 1997 and are currently constructing their 11th one. They have about 580ha under irrigation through 16 centre pivot circles. This season the family is growing several different crops, including 122ha of potatoes, 122ha of poppies, 21ha of peas and 20ha of grass seed. Mr Lindsay said harvesting of about 4000 bales of silage this season was under way. A large machinery shed and workshop houses the farm equipment, which includes three potato harvesters. Mr Lindsay said they preferred to have all their own equipment and do the cultivation, planting and harvesting work rather than use contractors. ''If we have the gear, then we can do things when they need to be done and that's very important, especially with crops like poppies and harvesting potatoes,'' he said. ''It's all about time and not wasting time waiting for things to happen.'' At the moment Tom, who handles most of the cropping side of things, is being kept busy with a full spraying schedule on the farm. His large spray rig, which includes a John Deere tractor and 30m spray boom, means he can spray large areas of crop quite quickly whenever the weather conditions are right. Satellite tracking on all the farm's tractors is used to ensure crops are planted exactly where they need to be. Mr Lindsay said an important part of their success had been developing long- term working relationships with the people they deal with for all aspects of the property's operation. This includes everyone from their bank, right through to agronomists, cow nutritionists, fertiliser company representatives and their artificial insemination technician, who has been working with them about 40 years. ''You've got to look at the whole operation and get advice from the right people,'' Mr Lindsay said. ''I always say to people who come here that they they won't be able to sell anything on to this place unless they can back up what they're saying.'' With so many different operations happening all the time, Mr Lindsay said it was team effort to keep the farm running efficiently and profitably. ''The farm belongs to everyone, it's not a closed door, it's everybody's farm and that's how we've always run it,'' he said.
October 28th 2010
November 11th 2010