THESE proud dairy farmers will work until the day they leave, writes CIMARA PEARCE
John and Natalie White have embraced a range of new technologies throughout their ownership of Reynella Park to make it a productive, and promising, dairy operation.
- REYNELLA PARK
- TINAMBA WEST, VICTORIA
- Property: dairy
- Size: 315ha
- Auction: July 15, Newry Hall, 2pm
- Price: $6 million range
- Agent: Pat Rice and Hawkins, Melbourne and LJ Hooker, Maffra
- Contact: Peter Hawkins, 0418 317 440 or 0488 483 000
John's father and grandfather purchased Reynella Park at Tinamba West in the 1940s. When John and Natalie took over the farm it was 80ha, but over the years they have have gradually expanded the land to total 315ha.
"We've seen growth in production through breeding and better feeding management and better irrigation practices," John said.
"The whole farm has been totally regraded from those little bays into laser grading and now the (water) wheels have gone to flume gates and pivots and we've used that technology. It's been an exciting challenge.
"Nat and I have had a lot of pleasure developing the farm up.
"We started off with an old walk-through dairy when we first came up here and then we went to a herringbone shed, then we went to a steel rotary and then, back in 2000, we built the new concrete 50-stand rotary."
The Whites now milk about 800 cows and this year will have produced more than 5.3 million litres of milk.
They supply Murray Goulburn.
The property is divided into about 100 paddocks and features an excellent laneway system with quality shelter.
"It's a good system," John said.
"If one laneway does get chopped up a little bit - if you've got a really bad wet spell - you can deflect them in to another laneway to bypass it, to let it heal up a bit, and so it's given us a lot of flexibility," John said.
"We've built that into the system to make it better, we've planted a lot of trees ... there's a lot of lovely old red gums across the property. "We've tried to plant quite a few stands of windbreak trees of indigenous species and it all adds to the beauty of the farm, but it's also obviously a practical aspect of it too, for shade, shelter and protection."
The property features Macalister River frontage and water is supplied by a water right and a network of dams and lagoons.
Much of the property is laid out to laser-graded irrigation, 26ha is under a centre pivot, there's about 5ha of lateral sprays and a range of soil types.
"We go from a rich, river silt on a lot of the (river) area and as you come inland a little bit more it changes to red-clay loam soil and then a heavier clay loam," John said.
"It's just a case of fertiliser and water and management, keeping a good rotation and letting the grass establish, and we tend to renew our pastures on rotation.
"We expect a lot out of our soil and we've got to be careful and be mindful of what we put back in to make it a sustainable operation. We do try to look after our soils and our pastures and our cow health.
"If you've got those things working right, and irrigation right - then gee whiz you can do pretty well."
Reynella Park features a main homestead and three homes for staff accommodation.
The dairy is equipped with 600-cow split yards and four adjoining yards for drafting and holding.
There is a 25,000-litre vat as well as two 10,000-litre vats in a second milk room for calf milk and a 2000-litre colostrum vat.
There are three calf-rearing sheds, four machinery sheds and all fencing is in excellent condition.
John said the farm would be ready for the new owner to walk right in.
"They can push the button the day we walk out and everything will work. They can make money from they day they walk onto the place," John said.
"We've got pride in the place and I want to retain that pride right up until the minute we have to leave."