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 : January 5th 2012
10 Friday, Janu Farm Feature Styx River Looking at how others farm has been a rewarding experience for dairy farmers Phil and Lis Beattie LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Lis and Phil Beattie have just returned from a tour to ch Dairy's winning ways land THIS Roger Hanson LOOKING towards a sweeping vista of Mt Wellington across the lush Derwent Valley, it is hard to imagine things could be better, but for dairy farmers Phil and Lis Beattie they can be. The Beatties, fresh from tours of farms in the UK and New Zealand, are intent on maintaining a grip on high standards at their Styx River Dairy Farm. The Beatties took full advantage of winning the dairy farmer category in the inaugural Virbac Proud Achievers Awards to pick the brains of some of the best dairy farmers in the UK and New Zealand. They got back from the UK leg of the tour a couple of months ago and from New Zealand in recent days. ''We recommend to others to go and check out what innovative practices they are employing in New Zealand,'' Mrs Beattie said. The Beatties travelled 3500km and visited more than a dozen farms on the North and South islands of New Zealand and took great interest in the Canterbury Plains, where the climate is almost identical to Bushy Park. ''The climate there is almost spot-on to what it is here, same rainfall and temperature,'' Mr Beattie said. ''It was a really enjoyable and interesting experience.'' The Beatties said they were im- pressed with the professionalism and grazing management by farmers on the Canterbury Plains. ''We realise we have to take a step up with our grassland management. Their use of irrigation is amazing, they don't waste anything,'' Mrs Beattie said. The international study tour was worth $12,000 with the awards recognising excellence in ani- mal health management. ''Our travels and meeting people reinforced that it is es- sential to maintain a grip on high standards and to keep the farm looking good,'' Mr Beattie said. ''It is also essential to listen to good advice from well- credentialled consultants.'' Mrs Beattie said that farms in the UK and New Zealand always looked good. ''In New Zealand they have great civic pride. Even the little towns and every farm we went to was well presented. And in the UK they have a high stan- dard of stockmanship,'' Mrs Beattie said. But the Beatties are glad they are farming in Australia and not in England. ''The level of bureaucracy in the UK is unbelievable, and we think it is bad here. There it is onerous and time-consuming,'' Mrs Beattie said. Originally from England, the Beat- ties moved from a rented dairy farm in Hampshire, to Bushy Park in the Derwent Valley. They bought the farm off Bushy Park Estate in 2002 in an auction over the phone. They moved to the farm in 2003 and converted it from sheep to dairy by building the dairy and putting in irrigation. They now have the biggest pivot irrigator in the southern hemisphere. ''We did the whole works to convert the farm. We started milking in August 2004,'' Mr Beattie said. They made the move to fulfil their dream of owning a farm, and it helped that the climate of Hampshire and Bushy Park are similar. But they battled drought conditions in the early years, only experiencing good rainfall in the past two years. The family has worked hard to convert the dryland 750ha Styx River farm into an irrigated dairy farm. The Beatties milk up to 850 cows, compared with the 180 they milked in Hampshire. While the Tasmanian Country was visiting Phil was busy with silage, which they use as feed in winter. He makes it out of a mixture of oats, peas and vetch, a leguminous plant from the same family as peas. They are drying off at the moment. The Beatties calve 600 to 700 cows from January to March, and then calve another 150-200 in spring. ''We milk all year round, we don't stop,'' Mr Beattie said. It takes 2½ hours to put the herd through the 50-unit deLaval Rotary
December 22nd 2011
January 13th 2012