Taking over the family farm can be challenging in itself, leaving a secure job in the public service, a young family and relatives watching over a farm that extends back generations, now that’s a challenge.
Through self education, independent thinking and the support of immediate family, John was able to turn Collingwood around to be the thriving black Angus cattle breeding property that it is today. A focus on soil through an integrated approach to managing physical, chemical and biological processes has seen Collingwood get the balance between soils, water, plants and animals just right.
Collingwood Farm, Coleraine VIC
ENTERPRISE: Cattle breeding
PROPERTY SIZE: 242 hectares
AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL: 620 mm
ELEVATION: 90-100 m
MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE
- Opportunity to embrace biological farming to regenerate run down enterprise with potential for improved profit and farm landscape improvement.
- Fencing of stock water and improved fencing along creek line
- Stock medication (supplements added to water troughs)
- Stock mineral supplement powders
- Effective weed management
- Consistently high levels of ground cover all year round
- Improved extent of tree and shrub cover along the creek
- Significant reduction in input costs
- High level of consistency of cattle breeding
- Rotational grazing of high quality pastures
- Cash flow all year round
- High level of personal satisfaction in outcomes achieved
History of the Kane family runs deep in Coleraine, Western Victoria. Since 1878 four generations have farmed this area. John and family made a tree change in 1996 to take over the farm from his uncles and thus began a journey of transformation.
Over a century of conventional farming practices had caused deep erosion gullies and a hardpan 200 mm below the soil surface. Through perseverance, education and a little ingenuity the ecological assessment for this farm leaves no doubt about the improvements and ongoing resilience of Collingwood.
Collingwood is productive and profitable, but it wasn’t always like that. Through an investment in soil health and the smart acquisition of some second hand machinery, the returns from this farm and the potential for future capital gain look promising.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
The potential of Collingwood was evident but you had to look beyond the weeds and erosion gullies. A cursory look back then would never have foreseen what is evident today. If John had his time again, what would he change? “Nothing”