by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
TAS Country : November 3rd 2011
14 Friday, Novem Farm Feature Ratho A fresh approach to farming, furthering your education, a keen business sense and good staff are the key to success to a life on the land, says John Ramsay CROPPING: John in his poppy field, right, and above, gets a closer look at a field of young sprouting poppies. New-age farmers growing PICTURESQUE: The Bothwell property of John and Anne-Marie Ramsay land THIS Roger Hanson BASED on the sweeping plains of Bothwell John Ramsay epitomises the new wave of young farmers. Both John, 33, and his wife Anne- Marie, 28, who works part-time as a nurse, are tertiary educated. John has a degree in farm management from Orange Agricultural College in New South Wales. Not only are the couple busy with the business of farming, but along with 11-month-old son Alexander, they are a family. John, who is confident about the future of agribusiness in Tasmania, approaches farming with the disci- plines of business management, for example, talking in business terms of reducing risk and threats, property scale, efficiencies, staff management, stock systems and networking. ''Further education helps expand your mind and broaden your horizons, and learn to source information,'' John said. John is putting his expertise and modern approach to use. When Tasmanian Country visited the couple's new home, John was just completing the scourge of all busines- ses -- the BAS tax statement. And when chatting he excused himself to take a call from an employee who had a question about a chemical. John tapped away on his iPhone googled the chemical, and found how long the chemical needs to be on a plant before the rain comes --- and it did rain later that day. John called his employee back with an answer. John and Anne-Marie have adopted four guiding principles to their busi- ness. ''Having good staff is vital for a successful business, in farming having scale, keeping the processes simple and enjoy what you are doing,'' he said. The switched-on couple has three properties, 1617ha at Ratho Bothwell, 1010ha at Umtali Bridport and 1010ha Tarella Kempton. The properties are worked by the couple, seven staff and John's father Richard, a semi-retired farmer, helps out. John's mother, a historian, is on the Tasmanian Heritage Council. His parents live at the old Ratho Home- stead, Bothwell. John said having the three proper- ties gives him scale. ''Scale of the farm is important. You need size to do things efficiently,'' he said. Ratho is a mixed farm with crops, poppies and sheep. ''I feel the value of mixed farming is synergies between enterprises, spin off is the reduction in risk,'' John said. The Ramsays have 1500 Merino ewes at Ratho, and by growing wheat cereal, which is sown in autumn, fatten 5000 to 6000 cross-breed lambs from the Brid- port property. He maintains the Merino breeding system by having half of his Merino ewes joined with a Merino ram. The other half is joined with a prime lamb ram, White Suffolk, for their first cross (prime lamb) breeding system. John and his crew are growing 350ha of poppies at Bothwell and Kempton. ''Poppies are the most lucrative crop we can grow,'' he said. However, John enjoys the traditions of sheep farming. ''I enjoy that side of farming, and I like the working dogs,'' he said. John is positive about the future of agribusiness in Tasmania. He is looking forward to hooking up with the multi-million dollar Midlands irrigation scheme for Tarella and the Shannon Clyde Irrigation Scheme for Ratho, which will help drought-proof the properties. ''It's expensive, big investment to utilise the irrigation system, however, we want to be ready to go when it comes on-stream. ''We will invest in new pivots to irrigate and on-farm infrastructure,'' John said. Despite the demands of farm man- agement the Ramsays make space for valuable family time. ''We have a break as a family in winter for a couple of weeks,'' John said. John and Anne-Marie, who love being farmers with their own business, are building to a bright future.
October 27th 2011
November 10th 2011