Saturday, 14 February 2015 00:00

Victoria farmer loves cows, blue tractors

Written by 
Roger Heath Roger Heath

Australian farmers Roger and Amanda Heath knew they would need to buy new machinery when they recently bought the family dairy farm from Roger’s parents Peter and Janice.

Roger and Amanda, with their six children, milk 300 Jerseys and some Illawarras on 260ha with a 22ha run-off leased block for the heifers, at Bookaar near Camperdown, western Victoria.

It is a fourth generation dairy, started by Heath’s great, great grandmother on 40ha and he has been there for 21 years, leaving school at 15 to come home to do the milking and do his farm apprenticeship
on the place.

“We previously had a New Holland TS100 tractor which is still going strong on the farm after 10,000 hours. It was the main tractor and will now be kept for feeding out, raking and baling”, explained Mr Heath.

In April last year they bought a New Holland T5.105 with an MX front-end loader through the Swayn & McCabe dealership at Colac.

 “The 112hp is the ideal size for us. We chose this New Holland model because it is a basic tractor and because of the reliability that we got from the old tractor.

“It had to be easy to use; we have one full-time operator, Tyson Osborne, and he is the main operator of the machine. It runs well with great visibility, it’s hard to fault. The hydraulics are very quick.”

The recently-released T5.105  has a 3.4L 4-cyl engine which is Tier 4A emission compliant and utilises New Holland’s cooled exhaust gas recirculation system and a diesel particulate filter.

The common rail system for diesel engines was first introduced to farming by New Holland in 2003, and they claim the benefits in comparison with conventional engines include reduced engine noise, better combustion, higher engine power density and lower emissions.

The tractor runs a 12x12 transmission with electro-hydraulic power shuttle which makes operating a front-end loader much easier. 

The hydraulics have an open-centre system with tandem gear pumps providing a combined total flow of 99L/min. Remote levers are within easy reach on the ergonomic CommandArc console.

“This is the first tractor we have had with a front loader, and we should have had one 20 years ago”, says Heath. “It’s amazing how many extra jobs you can find for the loader; it saves time and is very convenient.”

They feed pellets in the bail to the cows in their 20 a-side swingover herringbone shed and meal to the yearlings and calves. “Filling the pellet feeders is easy with the loader; the Quick Hitch takes about a minute to drop the forks and put on the bucket.

“It’s halved the time in changing over to the bucket. Mechanically it is a simple quick fix.”

Heath is passionate about his cows, with a big interest in the stud side through their Wanstead Jersey stud, started by his great grandparents. “I just love the cows, always have.”  He has been a classifier with the Jersey Association for 11 years, and gets to see lots of the country.

They’ve had a very ordinary season for hay. “We made all our own silage of 600 bales; we usually do 1000, and have been buying in hay. We normally work on 1000 bales of silage and 1000 of hay. The rain shut off in early August; we always usually get a spring.”

They need to milk 300 cows for debt replacement. They run a self-replacing herd and will bring 100 new cows into the shed this year. They would like to sit at 300 cows comfortably but will need to increase numbers in the next few years, probably up to 340.

As part of their upgrading program automatic cluster removers and stall gates are on the list, as will be a new feed system.


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