Rapid but planned expansion for this Tasmanian farm operation

Rapid but planned expansion for this Tasmanian farm operation

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Oliver Lindsay and father Peter, have a planned approach to developing their Tasmanian mixed farm business.

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Young Tasmanian livestock producer Oliver Lindsay and his father Peter's planned approach to the business has not slowed the pace of expansion.

The pair increased their enterprise from a family farm of about 200 hectares to an area of 2000ha in the space of 12 months.

The current land size encompasses a 1500ha highlands property, Triangle Marsh north-west of Bothwell they bought in 2016, and a 500ha farm, Corra Linn at Relbia near Launceston, which they share farm with the farm's owner.

Oliver Lindsay said the rapid expansion meant getting serious about how the operation was set up, machinery and time as well structuring the business.

With Triangle Marsh offering huge scope and existing infrastructure they decided to run cattle there initially and carried 200 cows.

Mr Lindsay said Corra Linn was running around 600 Merino ewes, 900 wethers and 60 cows as well as some opportunity for cash cropping and lambs for finishing. The ewes were purchased as aged ewes from Rothemay near Bothwell and were joined to Trefusis rams.

"We are just starting to build our flock. We are forging ahead with our own breeding plan," he said.

The current ewes were averaging 18.5 to 19 micron "strong, sound wool, high-yielding". The flock was cutting 5 to 5.5 kilograms of wool on an 8-9 month shearing interval

Mr Lindsay said the sheep met with his desire to take part in the Responsible Wool Standards (RWS) certification which included running non-mulsed sheep.

"The flock is RWS accredited. It's what the market wants - what buyers and consumers want. People increasingly want to know where the wool comes from and they vote with their feet - it's a no-brainer.

"It's a bit of extra work with crutching but we will be able to handle any issues with the sheep we are selecting. I take notice and advice from people who know. It's like being a sponge at the moment. I look at good producers and see what they are doing and try to emulate that," he said.

"Anytime there was an option to do something better is something we should definitely explore.

"To us RWS was a profitable decision. It's not just a feel good factor. It drives our standards and our mindset.

"What might now seem a bit overzealous, over time will become the norm."

There was real demand for RWS accredited wool and that had translated to prices for their clip exceeding anticipated levels by six to seven per cent.

Mr Lindsay said the Corra Linn property had the potential to carry 2000 ewes and 80 to 90 cows "in the next three years".

He said they would purchase another 600 ewes from the Rothomay property in summer to increase numbers and selection pressure.

He said Tasmania had a great opportunity to continue to produce high-end wool: "I take a long-term view. The track record of Tasmania speaks for itself."

"The current price has nothing to do with the wool industry - it's out of our control."

"I want to do it slowly and do it well. I'm not interested in having the most sheep in the district. I want to do it a pace that ensures management is exactly where it needs to be," he said.

Mr Lindsay said pasture improvements at Corra Linn included sowing short-term ryegrass into existing pastures and the worst paddocks ripped up and sown again to cash crops to clean-up.

"We want a mixture of longer and short term grasses because that suits our operation and when there is a pinch in the season we've got something there. We use sheep and cattle as grazing tools and make a around 1000 bales of hay and silage for our own use and to sell," he said.

He said they would trial some different varieties of fodder crops - under irrigation and dryland. "Versatility is king. You never know how the season is going to turn out."

He said they also planned to utilise some of the best paddocks to grow crops such as grass seed and clover seed to maximise returns.

He said they would be sowing turnips at the Triangle Marsh property for cattle feed and to assist with pasture renovation.

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