Dairy incentive kicks goals

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

Wesley Lammie has made a sound transition from the field to the farm, thanks in part to Harvey Fresh.

The former football star said his start-up dairy was in the right place at the right time.

Mr Lammie returned to Boyanup to pursue his second passion, dairy farming, in late 2013, after playing for Swan Districts as a ruckman for eight years.

A little over a year back into farming, Mr Lammie is once again kicking goals by taking advantage of Harvey Fresh's growth incentive plan, which has seen him secure an average of 60c/litre for his milk in the first year.

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Mr Lammie and his partner, part-time dental nurse and dairy farmer Sarah Kenny, purchased the 121 arable hectare properties from former dairy farmers and industry stalwarts Reg and Debbie Green.

"The country here is ideal for dairy cows because of a mix of low and lush pastures and high and dry hills for feedlotting," he said. "I started with 80 cows, but as of today I am up to 305 milkers and 30 calves."

Mr Lammie said with the help of his father and grandfather, he set up Stockdale pastoral and had continued expansion plans over the next three years.

"My dad, Robin Lammie, and I are equal directors in the company," he said.

"We started with the lease and an empty concrete shed and set up an 11-a-side herringbone parlour milking system, because that was what the building had accommodated in the past.

"But dad also has a business and farming background, so it been helpful having him as a financial adviser."

Mr Lammie said his grandfather, Robert, who was involved in dairy when he lived in Scotland, was 86 years old and fed all of the calves each day - no mean feat for a person his age.

"In the next three years we want to see out our Harvey Fresh contract with continued growth over the next two seasons and I would like to see the farm peak at about 400 cows by that time," he said.

Harvey Fresh is currently the only processor to provide the minimum price guarantee.

The company's general manager Paul Lorimer said the company was confident its milk incentive would prompt a number of its suppliers to invest in additional production.

Under the scheme, producers are contracted for three years and would receive a 2c/lt increase in farmgate milk pricing and a 1.5 to 2.5c/lt incentive for volume increases.

"We've been really pleased with the uptake of the growth incentive," Mr Lorimer said.

"Some farmers have been able to take advantage of it this year and other farmers are putting in place plans now to take advantage of it next year.

"Those farmers are increasing their volumes through everything from cutting more silage to running more cows.

"Mr Lammie was certainly able to benefit from the introduction of the incentive as he was in growth phase anyway, and good luck to him. The objective of the growth incentive was to increase total production and that's what he is doing.

"We are also pleased that when he began dairy farming in late 2013, he chose to become a Harvey Fresh supplier."

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