When you are in the running for a big dairy award, it helps to have your friends supporting you, but when those friends are finalists too things can get complicated.
Remlap farm at Sisters Creek, which is owned by Michael Palmer and Eliza Anderson with his parents Rhys and Cecile Palmer, was named the 2018 Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year.
Friends Richard and Melissa Duniam, who own Glenwood Dairy at Sisters Creek, and Duncan and Sally Sadler, Wayne and Linda Hansen and Nathan and Cassidy Lawrence, who jointly own Currajong Dairy at Flowerdale, were finalists, along with Agrilac’s Oxberry Dairy at Waterhouse, managed by David Risbey-Pearn.
Mr Palmer said the three North-West dairies were close “as the crow flies”, but also as friends who compared notes to ensure they were doing the best for their businesses.
“I was up against some great dairyfarmers – two are my best mates,” Mr Palmer said.
“We like to stir each other up, but also help each other out a fair bit.
“We all knew it would be a tough year, but we all talked to each other about the DairyTas courses to help us understand more about our businesses. We’ve been there a long time, but we’re always looking to make a profit.”
The Palmer family has been farming the Sisters Creek property for 33 years, gradually expanding through buying neighbouring farms to build cow numbers from 133 to 1000.
They supply milk for Murray Goulburn.
The awards, which were presented at the end of the Tasmanian Dairy Conference on Thursday night, are jointly run by DairyTas and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.
Dairy Extension Team leader Lesley Irvine said the top dairy farm is awarded to the business that records the best overall results in the institute’s benchmarking program, which measures financial and physical information.
“The Remlap team scored particularly well on aspects of financial performance and herd management, particularly in relation to herd nutrition and young stock management,” Ms Irvine said.
“The profitability of Remlap has been boosted by individual feeding based on milk production, and a focus on managing pasture to maximise growth and consumption.”
Remlap farm also had a strong focus on people management, which will be evident in the celebrations Mr Palmer has planned after the field day at the Sisters Creek property on April 11.
Further awards were also announced at the event:
Share Dairy Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Fonterra – Wayne and Caroline Saward.
Dairy Safety Award, sponsored by Moon Lake Investments – Clear Springs Operations, managed by Tim and Fiona Salter.
Dairy Employer of Choice Award, sponsored by WFI - Compass Agribusiness
Dairy Environmental Award, sponsored by Veolia – AgCAP Pty Ltd.
Dairy Services Award, sponsored by Elphinstone – Stevens Pty Ltd Bob Bush.
Young Farmer Encouragement Award, sponsored by Cadbury – Luke Day.