Oliver Family | Rabobank Australia Client
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Rabobank
 

Oliver Family, Temora

By staying flexible and making the most of opportunities as they come along, Rob and Helen Oliver have been able to continuously build up their mixed farming business near Temora in central NSW.

The Olivers run their grains, sheep and beef operation on approximately 2,185 hectares – covering their own 1,416 hectares, 486 hectares under lease and a further 283 hectares under a share farming agreement.

Rob’s family has been farming in the district for over 100 years so it’s not surprising that the former shearer chose to buy his own farm in the same area, before buying his mother out of the family farm in the 1990s following the death of his father.

Since then, Rob has purchased another three farms, selling off some land as hobby farms to use as deposits for his farm buys.

Apart from the property expansion, Rob said there had also been massive changes in production over the years.

“At the moment, about 60 percent of our operation is grains and a lot of those are also grazing crops for our sheep, which make up about another 35 percent. And we also have a few cattle,” Rob said.

“When dad was here, wool was the thing, so first up it was almost all Merino sheep, and we only grew wheat, oats and barley. We also had cattle, but we cut our cattle numbers back and went into producing lambs.

“In the end we gave the wool away, and now we pretty much just produce lambs – it was a matter of dollars and cents.

“We’ve got a feedlot for our lambs. That way we’ve been able to keep our ewe numbers extremely high and we always know we can finish the lambs.”

While they no longer grow lambs for wool, the Olivers still run half Merinos-half crossbreds that give them another stream of income.

The couple have also made a recent move back into cattle, purchasing a mob of cows and a bull, and are considering their options for the future.

On the cropping side, Rob has added both lucerne and canola to the mix which, he said, has helped to improve the farm.

“The last two years in the dry conditions, we cut all our canola for hay because it wasn’t going to make a crop. Then we put the hay into the lambs through the feedlot,” Rob said.

“We started liming the soil about 15 years ago for pasture improvement. And since we started growing lucerne, we’ve probably pushed a different range of pastures a lot further ahead than we had before.”

While describing mixed farming as ‘a difficult thing to manage, Rob said it was also a nice comfort factor to have.

Adding to that comfort is the support they have had along the way from Rabobank and their relationship manager Brian Mitchell.

“We go way back with Brian and we don’t normally make any major purchases without speaking to him and letting him know what we are thinking,” Rob said.

“He is very good, and we’re happy with the flexibility we have with Rabobank. It’s a working relationship and we look at it as a long term thing."

“We have our insurance through Rabobank and we just bought a header through the bank as well. It’s good to keep everything together because, for us, it’s about the overall package.

“There’s also a lot of information available from the bank and every now and then Brian will send us a link to something we like to have a look at, like commodity reports and invites to local events.”

Just like their relationship with Rabobank is working well, so are their current farming methods.

“Looking ahead, I think we’ll remain much the same as we are now, but I want to stay pretty flexible because I know how quickly it can turn from wonderful to sour,” he said.

“We’re happy where we are, but we want to keep on improving things – mostly our soils because that’s the key for us here. The better we get our soils, the more sheep we can run.”

 

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