When looking to maximise the productivity of his Yorke Peninsula farm, Brenton McRae also came up with a solution to a problem facing the Kadina township.
Farming just on the outskirts of Kadina, Mr McRae runs a Lowline cattle herd, buys in lambs when the opportunity arises and also produces hay to supply the local horse market, with lucerne production driving all three enterprises.
Helping him to maximise his property’s production is a dam that was built to deal with Kadina’s excess stormwater. The dam on Mr McRae’s property is linked to another owned by the Copper Coast Council.
“Two years ago I set up the dam on my property, and it was constructed to alleviate the water problem Kadina had,” he said.
“It was win/win, for the council and for myself. It gave me the opportunity to start up a lucerne operation.”
Between the council’s and Mr McRae’s dams, 25 megalitres of water can be stored.
While the dam only holds excess stormwater at the moment, Mr McRae is looking to make use of treated water as well.
He has been using Pasture Genetics L56 lucerne since settting up the dam in 2016.
The variety stood out for its dual-purpose uses of grazing and hay production.
“Since there’s not a lot of lucerne grown on the YP, most people got it in from the South East or Two Wells,” he said.
“They could be paying $200 a tonne in freight alone, so it was quite an expensive exercise.”
Mr McRae could see an great opportunity and said there was strong demand for his lucerne hay.
“The horse people I’ve been supplying it to have been knocking on the door, asking when they can get some more,” he said.
While the lucerne production depends on rainfall and how much excess water is coming in from Kadina, from just one cut, Mr McRae has been producing about 180 small bales from 2.5 hectares.
With his cattle, he supplies to Templers pig producers Atherton Farms, who sell direct to their customers through the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market and the Gawler Farmers Market.
“They were looking to expand, so I supply them direct and they can’t get enough of the beef,” he said.
“I receive a premium for the beef, more than $5 a kilogram, because of the quality and the fact it’s lucerne grazed.”
Running Lowlines offers a niche opportunity when selling direct to consumers and Mr McRae said he was also attracted to the breed due to its quietness and yield.
The beef is processed at Menzel’s abattoirs at Kapunda.
“I’m selling them at 380kg liveweight, and they’re dressing at 200kg, so the Lowlines have really good yield on them,” he said.
“You can get up to 56 per cent.”
Image: Courtesy of the Stock Journal.
Farm improvement creates opportunity
June 28, 2018