Upon entering Callara, the property owned and managed by Colin and Erina Thompson of Silvermere Holsteins, it quickly becomes apparent just how well this business is run. After what has been a long few years of drought, the paddocks are green with crops, the bunkers full with silage and the cows are healthy and happy.
Located between Cowra and Gooloogong in Central West NSW, the Autumn break has been reassuring with rainfall above average. Given the challenges very familiar to all dairy farmers, the weather, milk prices, irrigation water availability and feed prices, this year’s seasonal break has been very much appreciated by the Colin and Erina.
“320 cows are milked, three times a day, every day of the year at Silvermere. The cows are housed in a free stall barn. We breed all our heifers and raise all our bull calves, we have cows calving every day of the year,” said Colin.
The Thompsons produce about 5 million litres of milk each year which is sold to Lion Dairy and Drinks. It is then used for the Dairy Farmers brand and for a lot of the flavoured milks like Dare Iced Coffee.
Silvermere Holsteins is a very professional and meticulously run business. They place a lot of focus on animal health and balancing that with efficient and productive systems. They have developed ways to help mitigate against risk to help get through the challenges that are outside of their control. Their careful planning and management of fodder production is reflective of this.
“Lucerne is one of our main feeds. We harvest Lucerne as silage for the early parts of the season then through the summer months we cut hay. We often sell a lot of that hay because we grow a surplus of feed. This helps us guarantee we have a surplus of feed during dry times, which has been critical in recent years.
Our other main crop is corn. We grow corn over the Summer which is harvested for silage and stored in concrete bunkers. This is one of our main forages for the cows. The other crops we grow are cereals (Wheat and Barley) that can be either cut for hay, cut for Silage or we take them through for grain,” commented Colin.
Colin is always looking for ways to create efficiencies and increase production of fodder, the Fodder crops include, Corn, Lucerne and cereals. Careful planning and management of these crops is critical to the success of their business.