From New Zealand to Kerang

     
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It's a long way from New Zealand to Kerang but for Tony Barlow and his partner Tina Hardcastle the area was just what they were looking for, when the couple dcided to purchase their first dairy farm

The dairy industry has provided Tina and Tony with many different opportunites and experiences over the years. They have milked both large and small herds, they have milked in different countries including New Zealand, Brazil, Chilli and Australia but farm ownership has always been their goal.

“We wanted to buy our own farm but we would have had to get a huge loan in New Zealand, here in Australia we were able to buy our place debt free,” Tina said.

“We looked mainly in Victoria and when we saw this farm advertised in the paper we knew we could get in here debt free and build our asset base up,” Tony said.

The farm that took their eye was a fully lasered 73 hectare property at Kerang with a 9 unit swingover dairy. They moved on in September 2010.

While their first few months were uneventful, the arrival of the floods and their baby Charlie at the same time proved to be a little stressful, with Tina ending up getting a ride to hospital in the neighbours tractor. She is hoping the arrival of the next baby due in July will be a lot less complicated.

Tina and Tony are currently concentrating on improving pasture and they have started to get on top of the weed problem that covered many of the paddocks. They have sown 24ha of perenials and they intend to plant more in the spring. The 8ha of sorghum they planted last summer was pretty successful so that will be part of the rotation again this year.

“Our goal is to build up stock numbers. We are milking 75 at the moment but with peak numbers we should get to around 110, In two years time we will have over 200 animals,” Tony said.

With a young family Gracie 6, Warren 3 and Charlie 18 months, both Tina and Tony love the lifestyle the dairy industry provides.

“You are self employed, you have job security and if you work hard you can make money and grow your asset base quite fast.

“And even though we have only supplied the company for a short time I think the direction they are heading is really good. You don’t want to see people losing their jobs but if it is making the co-opertive more efficient then these things have to happen.

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