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Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

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Published: 15 Apr 2020

Grant and Kim Archer

Active Dairies Pty Ltd has been named the 2020 ANZ Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year, making the owners Grant and Kim Archer the most successful farmers in the history of the awards.

The award was announced today in a special live stream event with the finalists, hosted by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and DairyTas.

The Archers run Mountain Vale Dairy at Bracknell in the state’s north and it is the fourth time they have won the award – more times than any other business.

The Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year is awarded to the business that records the highest number of points in the judging process. This considers financial performance of the business along with the management of their farm team, pasture, cows and environment.

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

Their farming philosophy is to keep it simple, have a system that suits the farm and cows that suit the system and to grow and use as much pasture as possible.

They purchased the Bracknell property in December 2013 and began by milking 210 cows. Since then they have built a rotary dairy in a central location, installed a pivot irrigation system and increased their cow numbers to 1200.

Ms Lesley Irvine, TIA Dairy Extension Team Leader said the judging panel were particularly impressed by the strategic growth of the business.

“They have implemented a range of management strategies to achieve high profitability on a predominantly rain-fed dairy farm,” Ms Irvine said.

“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.

“They have also supported their farm team to upskill by encouraging involvement in extension events and training activities. They place high value on the team and work to ensure they are happy by matching their skills and work requirements to the work on the farm.

“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 acknowledged the success of the other two finalists, Dalmore Dairy, managed by Luke Davey-Baldock and Rosemount, managed by James Greenacre.

“Despite not taking out the top prize this year, they are still excellent examples of successful dairy farm businesses and should be extremely proud of their achievement in being a finalist,” Ms Irvine said.

DairyTas Executive Officer Jonathan Price said DairyTas were honoured to help coordinate the Tasmanian Dairy Awards program.

“Shining a light on the successful dairy businesses in Tasmania is always a highlight of our year,” he 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 winners of the 2020 Fonterra Share Farmer of the Year will be announced at another live stream event at 12 noon on Wednesday 22 April 2020.

The five other awards (organised by DairyTas) will be announced in April and May:

  • 29 April: Dairy Farm Safety Award, sponsored by Rex James Stockfeed
  • 29 April: Dairy Environmental Award, sponsored by Veolia
  • 6 May: Employer of Choice Award, sponsored by Aurora
  • 6 May: Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Fonterra
  • 13 May: Young Farmer of the Year Award, sponsored by Cadbury

The Dairy Business of the Year Award is supported by funding through the Dairy HIGH project, which is a partnership between Dairy Australia and TIA.