Gill Templeton, Trafalgar // March 2023 "Farming Conversations" Calendar
by Gippsland Jersey
Where’s your farm, Gill?
How long have you been in the industry?
Well, it'll be three years in March, 2023.
How many cows are you milking?
At the moment 140
Tell me how you got your start?
We purchased a house that was on 47 acres and it happened to have an old dairy on it. Never did we think we’d become dairy farmers though, we just thought it was a cool, old shed! My husband, Bryce, a farrier by trade, went and did a few milkings with the neighbour and he quite enjoyed it. The only other real experience we had in a the dairy was we originally bought 10 chopper cows and milked them; it wasn't enough milk to fill the bottom of the VAT so we had them on the test bucket and milked once a day and used the milk to start rearing a heap of calves.
Did you start building your dairy herd this way?
No, we sold all the calves once reared (beef). Then the opportunity came up to lease 106 acres next door with the potential to buy, plus we also bought the 15 acres on the other side with our superannuation. We committed to all this land (and debt) and became dairy farmers! In 2020 when we were going through the decision making process, it looked to us like the industry was on the improve. Obviously having a milking shed already on the property made the decision a bit easier. There’s no way the bank would lend us the money to buy the 106 acres if we weren’t dairy farming. The timing was just right for us as it looked like there was light at the end of the tunnel. It's probably only just great luck that we literally came at the right time when milk prices were good and the seasons were pretty perfect. Dairy is usually a generational thing and farms get handed down the family line. It doesn’t mean that each generation to take the farm on doesn’t work their butts off and sacrifice so much to make it work. However, we have literally started from scratch and we’re giving it a crack. We are three years in and have a new baby on the way and Bryce works flat out off farm. There's no point in stressing or trying to plan too much because it'll be what it’ll be. I'm just hoping that my birth all goes nicely and I’ll be back in the shed with my girls after not too long. We had a lot of people ask us, ‘why would you want to milk a cow’? But, for Bryce and I, we were up for it, we were like ‘let's have a crack at this’. Bryce can’t be a farrier forever because it’s too physical for him. You don't see too many 60 year old farriers. It’s not to say farming isn’t physical because it definitely is, but it's a different kind of physical. We both liked cows and we love animals so we enjoy what we’re doing.
So, Gill, you're managing the farm full-time with lots of support from Bryce.
Being pregnant is making me a bit slower these days.
You are seriously so capable!
Well, I am woman, hear me roar!
The Farming Conversations 2023 is brought to you FREE by Gippsland Jersey, Connect Well, East Gippsland Community Foundation, Orbost Regional Health and the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
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