Six years ago, they made the move south, and it’s nine years since the switch to using predominately VikingReds in their herd of Aussie Reds.
“The water issues in northern Victoria were getting too challenging,” Brett said. “The first month I rang Dad and asked what he was doing. He said `I’m just irrigating the farm’ and I said I did that last night while I “slept listening to the rain on the roof”.
The Swan Hill home farm was sold but Brett’s parents Grant and Barb retained a support block and still rear the young stock.
“We rear to weaning and then ship everything up there and Dad rears them,” Brett said. “Then we get the heifers back and he keeps the steers as payment. It’s working well.”
Family farming with quality life
Although a bit further removed from opportunities for their young children, Levi, 3, and Kaiah, 2, and missing the water sports that Swan Hill offers in northern Victoria. The south-west Victorian farming land and the switch to VikingGenetics has been an ideal fit for their farming goals.
Their changes have been designed to improve work-lifestyle balance. Everything they do on the farm is about lifestyle, including the breeding plan.
They milked 600 cows at Swan Hill and now can employ a relief milker for their 280-cow herd on 165 hectares.
The shift from Holsteins to Aussie Reds was inspired by lifestyle choices, especially to avoid emergency night calving support. “We were a Holstein herd in Swan Hill, but it was getting harder and harder to get cows in calf.
A friend had a few Aussie Reds and invited me to a field day. I looked at them and met VikingGenetics and decided to dabble in Aussie Reds for a while. Once we started getting the daughters, we realised it was the way to go”, he said.
“We got an instant kick in that first cross for fertility and the health continued to improve which meant we weren’t spending as much on mastitis and lame cows,” Brett said.