Our previous life as dairy farmers included building the Silhouette Jerseys dairy herd. The herd was started in 1960 by Richs' parents, he took an interest in them as soon as he was old enough to help around the farm. Caring for the new born calves was a great joy. As were all animals on the farm. He soon started helping with milking and other jobs.
After making it through the bare essentials of school he started work as a farm hand. Gradually taking on more and more responsiblity, but focusing on the care and management of the cows. He learnt to do his own AI and listened and learned some inspirational people in the industry around him.
He began to manage the breeding program and concentrated on breeding productive, medium sized and good temperamented cows. He then moved to "Share farmer" status.
In 1984 he bought the book keeper/calf rearer on board and a few years later the herd was appendixed up to registered status with the Jersey Society and we bought the herd. Also the new ABV (Australian Breeding Value) system was introduce, the herd was in the top ten in Australia from the start with several years at Number One and many in the top three herds.
The best rated cows were then sought out to breed bulls for the Artificial Insemination Industry. Several bulls were marketed, most did reasonably well but one debuted at Number One for his release.
Time rolls on, we purchased the farm, then several years later a second farm to try and create a business that could survive the growing challenges of dairying. After surviving many years of drought, low milk prices, an industry in serious trouble and 4 share farmers who each took their toll (and quite a lot of money) an opportunity arose to sell the herd as a whole. After Rich having had over 40 years in the dairy industry it was a very difficult time in our lives to realize, we aren't getting any younger, the dairy industry isn't getting any easier and that aching back will only get worse. The chance to send them off together was a great opportunity and they are appreciated at their new home.
Life is still busy, we developed a small beef herd over the last few years of milking so have expanded that. Also we are pleased to offer our experience to other dairyfarmers and now agist dairy heifers and look after them like they are our own.
We look at the dairy industry today and are glad we aren't facing those challenges anymore, our hearts go out to those determined to soldier on. These are the people that are born to milk cows, love their animals and their properties and go above and beyond the call working all hours in all weather, seven days a week for a pittance. We wish them all good rain, good sunshine and a good milk price.