THERE’S always plenty to be learned at a properly organised Farm Focus day and that was certainly the case at the Fish Creek property of Graeme and Jenny Cope recently where there was a good turnout of interested fellow farmers.
Graeme, Jenny, Shaun’s wife Sharna and Shaun himself have been working with co-facilitator John Mulvany as the family seeks to transition the farm business from one generation to the next.
While that has been happening, Shaun has been busy improving the farm’s pasture management, which has seen a focus on faster rotations for better feed efficiency.
Speaking at the recent Focus Farm open day, Graeme Cope said his son’s work in the pasture space had been paying dividends in terms of milk production.
“We have been trying to graze at the two and a half leaf stage, whereas before we were letting it go a bit and we weren’t getting as much milk as we could have,” he said.
Pasture was a major focus of discussions at the open day, which drew more than 70 people to the Kerrs Road farm where 720 cows are milked on 319 hectares.
Another point of interest was the family’s approach to succession planning, which Graeme said has been aided by John Mulvany’s input.
“John has had a day with each party and then both of us together to try and help get it all sorted out,” he said.
“Shaun’s buying 120 cows and I’m giving him 30 heifer calves each year. Within five years he has indicated he would like to do his own thing on his own farm, but I’m hoping he might want to stick around.”
GippsDairy regional extension officer and co-facilitator of the Focus Farm, Karen Romano, said the past year has seen good progress made against the Focus Farm’s initial business goals, while also tackling pop-up issues as they have arisen.
“One of the big things has been the positive impact that the Focus Farm has had on improving communication within the family and with employees,” she said.
“There’s also been a lot of work done to create a pathway for Shaun to transition into the business and there’s been good discussions about Petriks and how they have been integrated into the farm system along with traditional fertilisers.”
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Focus Farm looks at bigger picture