15 February 2019
Finetuning their farming operation is a key focus for Tim and Kirsten O’Sullivan who are committed to future-proofing the business for generations to come.
The couple works with a dedicated and experienced team on their multi-faceted business made up of irrigated and dryland blocks. The irrigated block, Lone Pine, supports grass and crops that are used to fatten bulls and to graze dairy cows with some specialised crop. Tim and Kirsten are working hard to maximise Lone Pine’s profitability to generate cashflow so it can stand on its own feet.
The dryland block, MacArthur, is predominantly used to grow cereal for grazing, some of which is harvested in spring to make hay for winter feed. It is then summer fallowed to conserve soil moisture with an average annual rainfall in this area of 275-300mm.
The O’Sullivans bring strong skills in irrigation management to the table with employee, Kyle Pont, engaged to assist in key production areas. Of the latter, the judges felt a particular highlight of the O’Sullivans’ production was their fodder beet crop, along with the great use of staged Kale planting at the ends of paddocks. Alternate paddocks of kale and fodder beet allow stock to be moved on and off the fodder beet crop while maintaining cattle ability to digest it.
A very efficient Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) regime is used, based on soil type, topography, aspect and crop stage. New crop paddocks are given a 50% irrigation rate, which is gradually increased as the crop grows and matures. In the longer term, Tim suspects it is likely that higher value land uses, such as horticulture and vineyards, will dominate the landscape.
The couple was motivated to enter this year’s awards as a way to benchmark their operation within the district. “It’s great to have the judging panel come to offer advice and critique. They help you to brush up on a lot of areas and assess your business and its current regime to see where improvements can be made. There’s always an excuse not to enter, but it is worth it to be ahead of the game.”
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award
Waterforce Integrated Management Award