One of the most profitable dairy farmers in Australia is in Co Cork this week speaking at the Positive Farmers Conference.
By: Aidan Brennan
Source: Irish Farmers Journal
Chris Proctor is originally from New Zealand, but is now farming in the Mount Gambier district of Australia. He bought his first farm in Australia as part of a partnership in 2007.
Proctor sold his farm in New Zealand when land and milk prices peaked in 2013 and he now lives in Australia.
Today he is milking almost 2,000 cows over three farms. All the land is irrigated and all the farms are spring-calving. This is somewhat unusual, as most farms in Australia are split-calving.
Employment law in Australia is rigid so an accurate record of all hours worked is required.
As Chris lives 450km away from the farms in Melbourne, they are operated using all paid labour.
Labour input per cow is only 11 hours/cow/year. The average in Ireland is over 30 hours/cow/year and the best farmers in Ireland are achieving 16 hours/cow/year.
The average working week on the Proctor farms is 38 hours per person, with the number of hours worked per month capped at 152.
Milk solids per cow is high at around 560kg from between 650kg and 1t of meal fed per cow.
Net profit per kg of milk solids is AU$3/kgMS (€2/kgMS), which is in the top 0.5% in Australia and Ireland.
At the conference, Proctor will give an overview of his career to date and his farming system with a particular emphasis on how he manages to be so labour-efficient.
The conference is on 11 and 12 January in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Co Cork.