The Apps family have innovated their dairy enterprise with the purchase of a new property beside their South Coast business, building a new 50-cow rotary dairy to coincide with their plans for a tech-savvy farm.
The family supplies milk to the Bega Cheese company from across two dairies on their 608-hectare property on the outskirts of Bega, while another 405-hectares is leased for dry cows.
Farmer Ron Apps and sons “Yarranung” said the new dairy kicked off 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 a 50-rotary the new Hargrave SplatForm dairy with DeLaval DelPro milking equipment and technology such as automatic cup removal, automatic iodine spray, automatic drafting gates, and ID tag reading.
Chris Apps, dairy farmer and son of Ron Apps 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 acknowledged through a computerised system and characteristics are noted, such as milk production, reproduction status and health issues. The amount of milk taken, iodine spray received and food 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.”
- The journalist is a member of the Apps family.