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The Crowden family, Western Creek

Marcus and Zed Crowden own and manage a robotic milking dairy farm at Western Creek in the Central North of Tasmania. Learn more about their Focus Farm story below.

Crowden Family

Farm background

The Crowden's converted their farm to robotics three years ago whilst also running a conventional milking farm of 300 cows. The business is high input, high output and high profit, driven by high levels of productivity and labour efficiency. 

Farm challenges and goals

Specific challenges and goals for the Crowden family during the Focus Farms project included:

  • To demonstrate that Automatic Milking Systems (AMS) can be run profitably in a pasture-based feeding system.
  • To debunk some of the myths around AMS.
  • To share the family business goals and ambition for growth with those in the dairy industry.
  • To work with a consultant in order to continue growing the business.

Farm facts and figures

An overview of the farm's productivity at the beginning of the project:

Farm details
Milking platform (Ha)
60 Ha
Number of robots 3
Area irrigated (Ha)
26 Ha
Peak cow numbers 225 cows
Stocking rate (cows/milking ha) 3.75
Calving start date 7th of August
Annual Milk Production (Kg Milk Solids) 99,251 (Kg Milk Solids)
Feed Details
Annual pasture utilisation (t DM/ha)
13.5 (t DM/ha)
Grazed pasture per cow (t DM/cow)
3.1 (t DM/cow)
Concentrates per cow (t DM/cow)
1.6 (t DM/cow)
Hay, silage and other feed per cow (t DM/cow)
per season
1.0 (t DM/cow)
Total feed per cow, 2014-15 season 5.7
Business Details
Annual cost of production ($/kg MS)* 5.0
Return on Assets 7%
Cows milked per full-time equivalent 235

*Annual cost of production includes non-cash costs such as depreciation and imputed people. Farm Working Expenses is budgeted at $4/kgMS.

Focus Farm reporting

Reporting 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016

Related info:
Attend a Focus Farm open day in your state
Other Focus farm in this region

Focus Farms around Australia
Other DA Farm Business management programs