Farmer in Focus: Angus Potter

Demi Taylor

We recently caught up with Angus Potter from Barraport. Angus is the fourth generation to farm the Potter family land, located 15km north of Boort. Following his completion of a Certificate III in Agriculture, and an Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management, Angus has returned to the family farm and took the time to share some insight into operations on his side of the fence.

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Barraport, 15km north of Boort, where our family farm is located. I completed my schooling at Boort District School up until year 11, when I decided that school wasn’t for me. I started working for a neighbouring farm whilst completing my Cert 3 in agriculture at Longerenong College. During that time, I realised that studying full-time at Longerenong College was what I wanted to do. I completed a two-year course at Longerenong College, earning an Advanced Diploma in Agribusiness Management. I completed the course in November, and came straight back to the family farm. In my spare time, I enjoy playing sports, particularly football for the Boort Magpies. I also like to hang out with friends whenever I get the chance.

Tell us about your farm?

Our family farm is located in Barraport, 15km north of Boort. We are a mixed enterprise, covering an area of 1400 hectares, and raising approximately 2,500 sheep. 1000 hectares is dry and, and the other 400 is flood irrigation.

I am the 4th generation to farm the Potter family land. We primarily grow wheat, barley, and vetch in rotation on dry land. With the irrigation, we grow clovers and cereals, and this year we are looking to incorporate lucerne, mainly for sheep consumption, with some paddocks grown for grain harvesting.

On the farm, it’s just me, my father Adam, and my mother Kim. We work together to run the farm. My dad and I have a great relationship and collaborate well, bouncing ideas off each other to achieve the best results.

Is anyone else involved in the farm business? If so, how do you manage your roles on-farm?

We operate as a family-run business, with involvement from myself and my parents.

How did your sowing program finish up for 2024?

We started sowing grazing canola on irrigated land on the 11th of March. The rest of the irrigation was planted with Planet barley and clover mixes, straight clovers, and Kittyhawk wheat.

On dry land, we began sowing vetch on the 29th of April, followed by Planet barley, oats, Catapult wheat, and Maximus barley on the 24th of May.

We’ve received 138 mm of rain so far this year, most of which fell in January. Luckily, the rain has come at the right time, and now everything is up and out of the ground.

What were your biggest challenges in 2023? How are you hoping to overcome these this year?

Operations ran pretty smoothly throughout the 2023 season. We had a lot of rain at Christmas time, but luckily we had finished harvest by then. This was a good thing, but it made it challenging to complete summer spraying with water lying everywhere and heavy stubbles. It made for some fun times spraying.

What are your plans for your farm in 2024 and onwards? Do you plan to do anything differently or implement anything new?

I’m always looking to move forward with technology and not get left behind with all the new stuff that is around. I’m also doing more detailed planning to make sure we have a good work-life balance and not just work all the time, so we’re only working long days and weekends when we have to.

Drought is an inevitable aspect of the climate we farm in. How is your farm business preparing for future droughts, or potential financial shocks within the business?

Drought is a constant concern, and we need to be prepared at all times. Our plan is to have both cropping and sheep enterprises so that we can still make money from the sheep during dry periods in the cropping. However, we must remember that the sheep need to be fed. To prepare for potential dry spells, we store plenty of hay and ensure we have more grain than we need to feed the sheep if it becomes dry.

The Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub is a state-wide collaboration of 10 organisations.  

Led by the University of Melbourne and with headquarters at UM’s Dookie Campus, the Vic Hub is a Partnership between five farming organisations (Birchip Cropping Group, Food & Fibre Gippsland, Mallee Regional Innovation Centre, Riverine Plains and Southern Farming Systems), four universities (UM, Deakin, Federation and La Trobe), and the State Government (through Agriculture Victoria).  

One of eight hubs established nationally under the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund (FDF), the Vic Hub works to enhance the drought preparedness and resilience of Victoria’s agricultural industries, the environment and regional communities, encompassing broader agricultural innovation. Engaging with a range of industry and community stakeholders, the Vic Hub links research with community needs for sustainable outcomes. 

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