Farmer in Focus: Nathan Twigg


Can you give us a bit of background on yourself and your farm?

I work on our family’s farm at Bears Lagoon, 50 km north west of Bendigo, with my Mum, Tania and Grandfather [Pa], Colin. We have a mixed operation with roughly 750 ha of cropping each year and first cross lambs we fatten on dry land and irrigated lucerne. Our crossbred ewes, along with the lambs are run on a rotational grazing program on the lucerne. Most of our paddocks are 25 – 30 ha, with larger mobs to graze the lucerne down as quickly as possible.

I’ve learnt a lot from working on the farm as well as with other farmers such as Scott Morrison. I help him out at sowing and harvesting as well as contract harvesting at Rowena in 2020 and 2021. It’s great to be able to work with other farmers and learn from each other.

What has been happening on the farm recently?

We recently built our own set of sheep yards and shearing shed. Magnus from South Australia put up the shed and we built the yards ourselves. There were a few jobs to get it ready for a week of shearing from the 13th to the 17th. We’ve also been getting the seeder and seed set up and ready for sowing. Mum has been shifting sheep and flat-out spot spraying weeds that have come from the floodwater. There’s also been a day of scanning and dipping thrown in too!

What have been the challenges?

Going from water everywhere to thinking about locking some ewes up in the feedlot. The lucerne is still coming back after grazing quickly with all the moisture under it but there’s not much on top. Harvest went a lot smoother than expected, we didn’t have any bogged machinery. Some crops yielded quite well considering the water that was under and over them, but grain quality was poor and some crop was completely wiped out.

How do you manage your roles on the farm?

Mum organises and looks after the sheep side of the business, and I run the cropping. Pa floats around and helps us and my uncles help out as well. Pa’s the head overseer of all operations. At lamb marking and shearing time it’s a family affair helping each other out. I help my uncles and they help me. It all works well.

What are your plans for your farm in 2023? Do you plan to do anything differently based on the past wet spring?

I don’t think we’ll change too much, only take a paddock of hay oats out of the program. I won’t sow it but will put sheep on it during the year then fallow it, to enable a good break to manage weeds.  I want to get the timing right for chemical applications as I was probably a bit late to a couple of paddocks last year. I would like to do a couple of large-scale paddock strips this year like I did last year. I will decide on this during the season as issues arise.

Who do you rely on for advice?

I’m able to get a lot of help off a lot of people, the agronomist and a few knowledgeable mates and Pa as well. You always get a variety of opinions and options. I’ve been to a few BCG days that have been helpful as well.

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