Bega farm expands operation

20 Mar, 2017 12:22 PM
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Dairy cows make their way to the new dairy for the afternoon milking.
The idea to build a dairy came after the purchase of an existing dairy farm.
Dairy cows make their way to the new dairy for the afternoon milking.

The Apps family have expanded their dairy enterprise buying a property beside their South Coast business and building a new 50-cow rotary dairy as part of their plans for a tech-savvy farm.

The family supplies milk to Bega Cheese from two dairies on their 608-hectare property on the outskirts of Bega, while another 405-hectares is leased for dry cows.

Ron Apps, who farms with his sons, said the new dairy started operating late last year and so far, so good.

The idea to build a dairy came after the purchase of an existing dairy farm, pulling down the old dairy to make room for the rotary they planned to build.

After originally operating four dairies, the family decided the purchase would allow them to have an even spread of milking cows on just two of the rotary dairies.

The families milk between 420 and 430 cows on the new 50-unit Hargrave SplatForm dairy with DeLaval DelPro milking equipment and technology such as automatic cup removers, automatic iodine spray, automatic drafting gates, and automatic identification.

Ron's son Chris said he was enjoying the benefits of less intensive work.

“We now have an even spread of cattle passing through Yarranung’s two rotary dairies, around 500 cows passing through each, so we are milking more,” Mr Apps said.

Cows passing through the dairy are recognised by a computerised system and characteristics such as milk production, reproduction status and health issues are recorded.

The amount of milk taken, iodine spray received and feed is taken into account before cows finish their lap around the rotary.

A calf shed and manure spreader are now on the agenda for the family as they settle into their new normal.

With several grandchildren now taking to their granddad’s property to work, the Apps family have big plans for the future. Ebony Apps, daughter, said working in a large scale family operation has helped in the transition of the new dairy.

“When going to work and your employer and fellow staff are your family it makes fitting in, being comfortable and happy just that bit easier,” she said.

*The journalist is a member of the Apps family.

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