My Life on a Dairy Farm
All my life I, Talei Holm, have lived on a dairy farm just outside the town of Finley near the Victorian border. The farm is milking about 650 Holstein and Jersey dairy cattle on a 54-stand rotary dairy.
In 2000, my dad built the rotary dairy, upgrading from the 12-stand double-up herringbone. The new dairy included a special room for my older sister, Ellena, and I to stay in while our parents milked.
A farm is the best place to grow up, it gives you the opportunity to have space and freedom. For pocket money I would help mum feed the calves. When I started year 7, my friend and I started our annual camp.
We would steal one of the ‘paddock basher’ utes and go to one of our back paddocks on a camping trip.
Although there is little or no access to shopping or public transport, there is still always something to do. I have been promoted to tractor work and milking, while still helping out with the calves. People in the country like playing in the local football or netball league, helping out on the farm or going out to the Chinese restaurant with friends.
When I was growing up I didn’t really know there was a drought on, it was all I could really remember. Money was tight and there wasn’t a lot of feed for the cows, which was hard for dad because before the drought we were growing 80% of the feed and during the drought we were buying almost all the feed.
We had to send cows away on agistment and we spent many afternoons along the roadsides eating watermelon while the heifers grazed. So really it was quite fun, going to different places with the cows. However, as the drought went on, we saw dad less and less.
I believe that farming does have a very bright future ahead of it. There are many new technologies that we could use to make farming so much easier. Rotary dairies speed up the milking process, ID in the sheds so you know each cow that walks onto the platform and websites to help control water outlets. Things such as these make farming a much better and time-efficient career than previously.
There have been so many changes to farming over the years, such as my great-great grandfather moving away from milking in buckets to buying their first milking machine.
I think the changes of farming practice in my lifetime include putting the rotary dairy in, buying the JCB telehandler and adjusting the way the farm runs to suit the drought conditions.
I would definitely consider the agriculture industry as a career because there are so many different departments and jobs, it’s not just walking around a paddock all day. Jobs like being a farm manager, part-time milker, contract tractor driver, cattle agent or an agricultural scientist.
I personally would love to become involved in the dairy goat side of farming and combine that with my hobby of showing animals.
As a high school student, I believe that there are many things schools can do to encourage farming, such as telling students that a career in agriculture isn’t just about being a farmer.