Archers make Tasmanian farmers of the year for the fourth time

By Sophie Baldwin

Grant and Kim Archer from Active Dairies are getting used to being number one after winning Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year for the fourth time, making them the most successful farmers in the history of the award.

The couple runs Mountain Vale Dairy at Bracknell, a property they purchased in December 2013. Originally milking 210 cows, business has grown over the years to include a rotary dairy, 1200 cows and a pivot irrigation system.

Their success is underpinned by keeping things simple, following a system that suits the farm and the cows, while growing as much pasture as possible.

Dairy extension team leader Lesley Irvine said the judging panel was impressed by the strategic growth of the business through a range of management strategies to achieve high profitability on a predominantly rain-fed dairy farm.

“They have a focus on high pasture consumption which has involved extensive pasture renovation and drainage works, along with installation of pivot irrigation.

“While the irrigated area has increased on the farm, there is still a large area of rain-fed pasture, making silage an important part of the diet which needs to be balanced carefully to ensure good milk production,” Ms Irvine said.

Supporting and upskilling their farm team through extension and training activities ensures skills and work requirements are matched.

“Putting an emphasis on the system as a whole and focusing on big strategies as well as looking after their team are some of the key reasons for their success,” Ms Irvine said.

The Archers received the award in 2003 on their own farm, and again in 2012 and 2015 while they were share farming on other properties.

The Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year is awarded to the business which records the highest number of points across the judging process and takes into consideration financial performance of the business along with the management of the farm team, pasture, cows and environment.

Executive officer Jonathan Price said DairyTas was honoured to help co-ordinate the awards program.

“Shining a light on the successful dairy businesses in Tasmania is always a highlight of our year,” Mr Price said.

“It is important that we take the time to celebrate the capability of our dairy farmers and their excellence in business performance, farm management and human resource management.”

The award was announced over live stream.