Owners and operators: Frank & Ed Archer
Presenters at the visit: Frank Archer
Total area 3.000 ha over two farms (Landfall & Greenhythe) approximately 25 km apart. Approximately 2,500 ha pastured.
Average annual rainfall, 700-750mm
Water resources for irrigation: total 1,700 ML storage of winter catchment runoff
Centre pivots, 4 covering 250 ha), hard Hose irrigators irrigating 60 ha.
Labour; Owners plus 4 Full Time Equivalents on the farm, 0.5 FTE administration, 0.5 FTE casual workers.
Family succession issues – has been a 10-year plan
Fran & Ed have 3 non-farming siblings who were provided with financial assistance – early inheritance strategy. Frank & Ed farm in partnership and lease the farming assets from their parents with the lease fee providing income for the parents. This will eventually provide their parents with sufficient assets to be financially independent. Farther (Gerald) works on the farm and receives a salary.
Seedstock, Angus bulls (70% of the business, producing for sale 550 bulls each year, from a herd of 1,500 cows. Angus herd represents 70% of the Dry Sheep Equivalents.
Prime lambs from Composite ewe flock of 4,000 (30% of the DSE).
Stock are grazed on dryland and irrigated pastures, and fodder crops. Grazing is intensively managed; particularly with smaller mobs of bulls and frequent rotation of paddocks particularly to avoid pugging and sol and pasture damage in wet winters. The average mid-winter stocking rate is 16 DSE/ha (property range 2-50dse/ha). Irrigated pastures carry an average stocking rate of 25 DSE/ha year round.
No cash crops; Angus beef seed stock provide better opportunities for growing the business, easier to manage and the preferred enterprise for the managers.
Artificial breeding is important; AI conception rates 60-70%; with embryo transfer to around 450 recipient cows each year. Embryos are flushed from the best 2% of cows and implanted in bottom 20% of cows.
Bulls are sold at auction on farm (50%), remainder for private sale. Around 75% are sold to Tasmanian buyers. All bulls are sold with objective performance records (EBVs – Expected Breeding Values) and there is a strong correlation between EBV indexes and sale price.
Management issues and concerns:
The business assets in order of priority are:
- People: management mistakes can have serios and long-term consequences
- Livestock: management mistakes can be rectified
- Land: management mistakes most easily remedied.
Concerns for the future:
- Production system sustainability – pasture and soil damage in winter; irrigated areas do not have opportunity to dry out (minimised in exceptionally wet seasons by 12 hourly grazing shifts).
- Beef industry and reliance on 2 major abattoirs in Tasmania. And concerns about social acceptance of meat farming.
- Government regulation and administrative requirements.
Frank and Ed do not worry about debt (at the current time).
Frank aims for his children to work off farm after completing formal education; then decide whether they wish to come back to the farm
Issues to explore
Generational transfer – process and outcomes
Real estate value of land v agricultural value
Beef seed stock enterprise v commercial beef production
Peri- urban issues
Business threats and opportunities
Social licence for continued beef production