Young couple eyes future in dairy farming

By Dairy News

Young dairy farmers Cody Tricky and Rachael Barnes hope to one day make Cody’s family farm their own.

Cody and Rachael, from Finley, are working hard to achieve their goal and are well on the way to building up their own milking herd which includes around 70 head.

Cody and Rachael are well aware of how hard it is in the industry but this hasn’t deterred them from still wanting a future in dairy farming.

“We are only 21 and we know things are pretty tough at the moment. Water is our biggest issue moving forward, not just for the dairy industry but the whole community who is suffering alongside us,” Cody said.

This year they purchased 16 three-month-old cross-breed heifers for $40 and they have plans to join the more Jersey-like animals back to Jersey and the black and whites to Holstein.

The business is currently milking 270 cows but that number could reduce even further if the drought continues to bite.

Normally they would have 12 months of fodder up their sleeve; this year they only have weeks.

“We will start to work a bit of ground up, plant some cereals and pray for an autumn break,” Cody said.

In a normal year they grow rye and cereals on irrigation, with a bit of dryland cropping thrown in.

They do grow lucerne and some sorghum but 2018–19 has definitely been on the ordinary side for fodder production.

In November last year the family business joined the Victorian Dairyfarmer Consortium after previously supplying Murray Goulburn for 28 years.

“We joined for financial reasons and to get more say in our milk price rather than be just dictated to,” Cody said.

“Three months down the track it has helped keep us here and has been worth an extra $70000 – $80 000 for our business — it has all been spent this year but in a normal year we would be laughing,” he said.

Cody said this sort of pricing model was something they would stick with in the future.

“Everyone in the group has their own input and it’s a good model. Paramlat had the best offer and that is why we went with them. We are the only farm in NSW currently but I am sure there will be more of us in the future.”

Cody’s family moved to Finley from Gippsland in 2014 because ironically it was tough farming in wet conditions and land prices were just too expensive.

Initially they purchased two 80 ha farms, but sold them in 2016 and purchased their current 390 ha property.

“We were looking for cheap land so we could grow affordable fodder for our herd,” Cody said.

“It does get hot and dry up here but the heat is certainly easier to manage than the wet.”

Cody loves working with machinery and growing crops while Rachael’s love lies in the cows, especially Illawarras.

She developed that love while working with them at high school through the school’s agricultural program.

“I love the cow side of farming. I got introduced to showing and every year I would fall more and more in love with it. I love seeing an animal I have worked with and prepared, out in the ring,” Rachael said.

Rachael’s family sold their dairy herd in 2014 and like Cody she always loved the farm, the space and working with the animals.

The couple definitely has plans in the future of expanding the Illawarra show team and adding a few Holsteins and Jerseys down the track.

“I was never into showing until I met Rachael but I am really enjoying it,” Cody said.

The couple recently attended International Dairy Week with Llandovery Queens Claire1969th.

She was Rachael’s birthday gift from Cody and while she turned up to the farm a little wild and untamed, Rachael soon worked her magic on her and she went on to win Junior Champion Illawarra and was named Reserve Intermediate Champion All Breeds.

The win has certainly inspired Rachael and Cody to continue on the show path, and they recently purchased a heifer from the second stage dispersal sale of Robert and Maree Newton from Ovensdale Illawarras at Whorouly.

“I was really nervous before the sale but we got the one we were after and I am so excited,” Rachael said.

“We had a good look around the herd on inspection day and to me she was the best, most correct heifer, and her pedigree was great.

“She is due to calve in April and we have plans to get her in the ring after that,” Rachael said.