book.tascountry - Flipbook - Page 11
KEEP IT SIMPLE:
Dairy farmer Rob
Frampton with his
on the family farm
Gawler. Inset, from
top left: one of the
chickens in mobile
pens are used to
spread manure and
control insects in
the paddocks; the
farm runs a herd of
400 crossbred cows.
This way of
farming is like
going back to how
it used to be done
when things were
simple with less
He has also designed and built his
own custom calf trailer, with a floor
that can drop to ground level so the
calves can be walked in rather than
having to be being lifted.
The herd is made up of crossbred
cows including Friesians, Ayrshires
and an unusual French breed called
Normandes. A dual-purpose breed,
Mr Frampton said he was trialling
them to see how they perform.
The first lot of Normande-cross
heifers are now in the dairy with
more to come in next season.
Mr Frampton hoped the dualpurpose traits would boost the value
of calves if they have to be sold.
Key traits in his breeding program
are fertility, calving ease and good
udders. Feet are important as the
cows sometimes have to walk 2km to
the dairy and the farm is quite hilly.
About 90 per cent of the herd
calves within six to seven weeks and
he does not use inductions.
Trees are an important part of
managing the farm with areas of
native bush and riparian areas fenced
off and lots of planting over the years.
“The bush provides a lot of shelter
for the cows, but it’s also really good
for all the beneficial insects and birds
and things like that,” he said.
A major change in recent years
is improving energy efficiency,
including an energy audit to see
where savings could be made.
Mr Frampton has invested in a
solar system installed on the simple
rotary dairy built in 1998 and this
has helped getting the farm’s power
expenses drop from around $15,000
to about $6000.
He said one main challenge was
being able to use the solar power
during the day when it is generating.
“I’ve got timers on everything, so
things that don’t have to be running
aren’t,” he said.
He also runs an electric ATV.
The farm supplies milk to
Cadburys and Mr Frampton said
keeping costs low was a priority.
“We don’t have the highest
production or the highest producing
cows, but when you look at the
benchmarking, we are one of the
lowest with cost of production.
“I think this way of farming is like
going back to how it used to be done
when things were simple with less
inputs. We’re very resilient when
there’s a low milk price because
we’re low cost.”
He feeds very small amounts of
supplements to the cows so he is less
exposed to the grain market.
“I’d rather have them dried off a
bit early than be in a position where
I have to buy in feed to keep milking
because often you end up spending
more than you’re making.”
TASMANIAN COUNTRY Friday, January 29, 2021 11