Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

Primary content

The Whitehead family, Timboon

Mat and Renee Whitehead, and Mat’s parents John and Leeanne Whitehead, combined two farms and herds, and built a new dairy in 2013.

Whitehead Family

The Whitehead family was a WestVic Focus Farm from Month 2013 - Month 2015.

Farm challenges and goals

Specific goals and challenges for the Whitehead family included:

  • Increasing herd fertility and maintaining a seasonal calving herd.
  • Growing more home-grown feed.
  • Developing business succession strategies.
  • Monitoring and improving return on investment.

Farm facts and figures

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

Farm Details
Milking area 303 ha
Dairy 60 unit rotary
Herd numbers 600 cows
Annual stocking rate (cows/milking ha) 2.0
Milk Production (Kg Milk Solids) 384,338
Homegrown feed (t/DM/milking ha 6.7
Homegrown feed in diet 45%
Cows/labour unit FTE 100
Milk Production
Milk Production (Kg Milk Solids) 384,338
Milk Production (Kg Milk Solids/cow) 641
Litres (total) 5,125,228
Feed Production
Grazed feed per ha t/DM/milking ha 4.4
Conserved feed per ha t/DM/milking ha 2.3
Total home grown feed t/DM/milking ha 6.7
Total farm gross income ($/kg/MS) 7.31
Cost of production ($/kg/MS) 4.30
Earnings before interest & tax (EBIT) $kg/MS 2.28
Return on total assets % 10.1
Return on equity % 22.2

One year later - Focus Farm field day

In September 2015 after 12 months operating as a Focus Farm the Whitehead's opened their farm gate for a field day. Local farmers and their families and the larger community were invited.

On the day, attendees received a farm business performance update including a DairyBase business update. Participants were able to view and discuss specific business activities including:

  • The updated calf rearing system and facilities
  • The family succession planning process
  • The current calving management system

The farmers and their support group members gave participants information about the farm's operation since starting their Focus Farm and discussed how the support group assisted in the Whitehead's business decision making.

Closing report - November 2015

  • Started feeding silage 30 October 2015.
  • 160 cows currently dried off to begin calving 4 January 2016.
  • Approximately another 300 to be dried off over the next two months.
  • 15 ha irrigated turnips now germinated. 18 ha dry land sorghum planted at the out paddock.
  • All silage now finished, 4,000 rolls conserved.

Download the complete Focus Farm report for November 2015 here.


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

Focus Farms around Australia
Other DA Farm Business management programs