TOOLAMBA dairy farmers Stuart and Suzi Rea juggle milking 900 cows with a milk transport service, Mooving Milk. By: GRACE EVANS
The couple, who built up their property “Herdstown” from 129 hectares to 2023 hectares across the past 30 years, have supplied Australian Consolidated Milk for about three years.
While their farmgate milk price wasn’t cut late in the 2015-16 season like other processors, their opening price for the following season was a lot lower than it had been. The couple had experienced price drops in the past and managed their budget.
“When the price drops it’s always hard, we’re used to price drops, but we normally have a bit more notice. Last year it all happened a bit too fast,” Stuart said.
“This year we just dig our way out and it’s looking pretty good going forward.”
Suzi said the key was to just keep going.
“One year you can be firing along and you’re doing OK and you think, ’Well that’s good, we’re going into next year with some profit and we’ve got some money’ and the next year they pull the rug out from under you, the price drops and that’s not built into the budget,” she said.
Stuart left school at age 15 to start working on the farm.
When he and Suzi took over the business they accumulated a few nearby dairies but to save time and labour built one 80-stand rotary at Toolamba.
Their herd is predominantly Friesian.
“In the past when we have increased numbers sometimes we’ll buy a herd or go to a sale and buy some heifers, when numbers are low,” Stuart said.
The couple started their Mooving Milk business when they supplied Melbourne-based processor Fresh Cheese.
Stuart said the numbers stacked-up to cart their own milk but then the business grew to include other farms.
Now all but one of their trucks cart milk for ACM.
The Mooving Milk business has continued to grow and it “looks after itself pretty well”.
Source: The Weekly Times