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TAS Country : December 9th 2010
16 Friday, Decem FEATURE FARM Barunah Small NEW THINGS: Malcolm Lee in a paddock of lucerne. His farm is highly productive. SIDELINE QUALITY: Horse and stock feed ready for sale. Much of the property is used to produce feed grains. land THIS Karolin MacGregor A WILLINGNESS to try new things and an uncompromising approach to producing top- quality stock feed has seen the Lee family's property, Barunah, develop into a thriving business. Malcolm Lee is a fourth generation farmer on the family's property along with his wife Kerry and their three daughters Megan, Rebecca and Sophie. The property was originally established in the 1920s by Mr Lee's great grandfather Sir Walter Lee who was a wheelwright by trade, but also went on to be Tasmanian premier three times. Situated on the outskirts of Westbury, the property has been purchased by each generation of the family. Mr Lee officially bought the farm off his father Geoff in 2002. The property is quite small by today's standards, with just 81ha, but a careful management and value-adding strategy means it is highly productive. Mr Lee said diversification has been part of the family's approach to farming for decades. Being self-sufficient has also been a way of life for the Lees. ''Dad was pretty old school, so I grew up with the idea that it was better to build something rather than buy it and that you're better to do all your own repair work and maintenance,'' Mr Lee said. ''Diversification was something Dad started, but I guess I've taken it to a different level.'' In recent years a large proportion of their business has become focused around supplying top-quality stock and horse feed to a stream of regular customers who visit the property. ''This whole area around Westbury right through to Carrick is known for being a big horse area, there are a lot of trainers and trotters based here, so I could see there was definitely a market for really good quality horse feed,'' he said. ''I saw it as a good way to value-add what we were producing on the farm and it's just grown from that.'' A large proportion of the family's property is now used to produce feed grains such as wheat, barley and oats. They also grow large quantities of lucerne and produce both lucerne and oaten chaff, as well as small bales of straw, grass hay, red clover hay and lucerne. ''A lot of our customers are people who live on lifestyle blocks of five or so acres and they like to run a horse or two or a couple of sheep or even some pigs,'' Mr Lee said. ''We even get people driving out from Launceston to buy a bag of wheat for their chooks, and I think part of that is because it's a bit different here to your normal shops and it's a good chance to go for a nice drive out of town.'' The Lees sell most of their stock and horse feed from an on-farm selling centre which, while basic, is perfectly functional. They are open three days a week as well as Saturday mornings. Mr Lee said when it came to horse feed, quality was everything. ''The quality is something we are really careful about because we're supplying a premium product
December 2nd 2010
December 16th 2010