Tyler - Tongala | Rabobank Australia Client
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Tyler Family, Tongala

During the last 30 years of growing their farm business into a large scale dairy operation, Andrew and Robyn Tyler have been ready and willing to adapt to changing conditions while making the most of opportunities along the way.

Since moving to the Goulburn Valley in 1989, Andrew and Robyn have built up their dairy farm from 120 hectares with 200 milking cows to 600 hectares with 1500 head, including 900 cows.

Despite some challenging times over the years, Andrew said he has always remained positive about the agriculture sector – even more so now that two of their three sons, James and Sam, have returned to the farm.

“Over time we have grown our business and, if our sons are interested, they can step up and take it to the next level,” he said.

“We’re in a transition phase where I’m stepping back from the day-to-day operations and doing more on the managerial side, while James and Sam are doing more of the actual operations.

“Robyn has also always been active on the farm but with the two boys taking over more responsibility, with the help of other staff, Robyn and I are doing less active farm work.”

And by embracing innovation and technology over the years to improve productivity, Andrew and Robyn have paved the way for their sons to continue to grow the business.

In the last decade they have concentrated on introducing measures to help them use water wisely on their irrigated dairy farm to get the maximum return, given the high cost of water.

“We’re trying to grow more feed with less water. So we have moved away from irrigated rye grass pastures and are growing more cereal for forage and are summer cropping with corn, and sorghum to a lesser extent,” Andrew explained.

“Most of our irrigation infrastructure is still gravity irrigation, but we are using more automation with timers, and we are also using moisture probes on our corn. We are using technology to get much better information on what is happening with the crops so we know when to irrigate.

“With dramatic changes in water availability and the high cost of water to the business, we have had to change the way we use water.”

As they have navigated the changes, Andrew said they have had the support of Rabobank through the decision-making process.

The Tylers’ relationship with Rabobank began 15 years ago when they obtained financing for a new dairy.

“Since joining Rabobank, we have only had three relationship managers, the last eight years with Michael Napier. They have been good working relationships, with the managers having a strong understanding of how we operate,” Andrew said.

“As rural banking specialists, Rabobank understands agriculture.”

“They have a vast number of analysts and they certainly know what’s happening in the ag sector and in the different commodity groups. I think that is a strong benefit.”

As a strong believer in upskilling and learning from others off farm, Andrew has taken advantage of Rabobank’s global network and connections over the years – something that he is also now encouraging his sons to do.

“One of the things I’ve always found to be valuable, and one that Rabobank is very good at, is networking.”

“I’ve been on many overseas trips and trips to other regions where we have used Rabobank’s network to access key learnings from other skilled operators, and we have learnt a lot," he said.

“For the last 10 years, we’ve also been part of a dairy discussion group where Rabobank is one of our sponsors.

“I’m at the stage now where I’ll be encouraging my boys to take that next step to learn a bit more off farm to build their skill base. We’re always learning, and the best way to learn is quite often to get out there and actually see what other businesses are doing.”

Andrew is also committed to giving back to the community and back to the industry through his involvement in a variety of organisations.

“I’m a member of the Riverina and Northern Victoria Client Council and what drives us is our desire to sustain our communities. We are always trying to assist farming communities to be better at what they are doing,” Andrew said.

For Andrew, one of the client council’s chief achievements has been the Teacher Farm Experience (FX) Program, educating teachers on the employment and career opportunities in agriculture.

He also sees his involvement with two industry groups, the Australian Dairy Conference and Dairy Australia’s Murray Dairy Regional Board, as a way to give something back to the sector.

“I think it’s good to give back to the industry and try to encourage some really positive benefits,” he said.

A strong advocate for dairy, Andrew said that the industry had provided a good living and lifestyle for his family.

“You can create wealth, and that’s what we farm for – our future and our families,” he said.

“I really enjoy farming, enjoy growing crops and enjoy our animals.”



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