TOGARI, Tasmania, dairyfarmer Wayne Huisman is obsessed with growing grass. His wife, Angela, says he’s addicted to nitrogen.
But it’s an obsession that’s brought them dairyfarming success, with the couple last year winning the sharefarmer section of both the Australian and Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year competitions.
The figures for the competition year (2006-07) speak for themselves. The Huismans harvested 13.3 tonnes of dry matter a hectare from their dryland farm – a figure that put them among the best of the irrigated farms in the competition.
And the pasture consumption set up their overall farm performance. The Huismans sharefarmed for Bob and Carolyn Campbell in that year, with the farm producing a 9.7 per cent return on assets and an operating profit margin on 26.1pc. Pasture cost just $154 per tonne – among the lowest of the finalists in the competition.
The couple has also taken a slightly different path to farm ownership. When the Campells decided to sell the farm in October 2007, the Huismans took a stake in its ownership through an equity partnership. They are now 20pc stakeholders in the farm in partnership with Bradley Watson and Gerry Vaughan, who are both investors with stakes in other dairy farms. The other partners employ an adviser, Rhys Palmer, a former milk supply officer with Fonterra, to advise them on the technical aspects of the farm.
This season the Huismans are milking 620 cows (about 70 of which are autumn-calving) on 200 hectares.
* Extract from article to appear in this week's Stock & Land newspaper.
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