Farmer in Focus: Tim Dunlop

Tell us about yourself and your farm?
I farm with my brothers Greg and Nathan, father Russell and uncle Graeme at Rupanyup. Our soil type is mainly black self-mulching loam with patches of red clay. We grow wheat, barley, lentils, beans, canola, vetch hay and oaten hay. We also run a couple hundred first-cross ewes for prime lamb production and buy in lambs to feedlot.

I studied at Longerenong College in 2008/09, completing an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture and Diploma of Agronomy. I live on the farm with my wife Camille and our six month old son George.

Tell me something interesting about your farm. Do you do anything differently?
Two years ago, we bought a John Deere disc seeder, along with a stripper front for the header at harvest. That’s been a steep learning curve and one we’re still working on. Sowing through so much bulk in our sticky soils has been challenging at times. It’s a system we chose to try and conserve and capitalise on moisture during dry years. Fortunately, we’ve been pretty lucky to have some good years lately.

Along with a couple of neighbours, we have purchased an old Graincorp site. That’s also been a learning curve working on filling that each harvest.

How does your farming operation work? Do you have specific set roles you focus on?
We all generally help each other out and rotate but each of us also have allocated portfolios that we tend to manage, such as hay marketing and bailing, sheep, grain marketing, office work, spraying and truck driving.

What is keeping you busy on the farm now?
At the moment, the boom spray is busy when it can be and fence lines are being sprayed. Hay and grain seem to be flying out the door to make room for the incoming harvest. We are also just doing a general tidy up before we all get busy.

What decisions are you making at the moment?
We’ve just had a meeting with the agronomist discussing next year’s crops/fertilisers/chemicals. It seems like a few chemicals could be hard to find next year so we are looking at getting a bit of what we can now.

What have you changed on the farm in the past 10 years?
In the last 10 years, the biggest change has been the introduction of the disc seeder and the stripper front. We have also been steadily increasing on farm storage for both hay and grain.

What are your plans for the farm in the next few years?
We have been getting serious about succession planning and with the next generation already on their way, we’ll look at trying to expand.

Where do you go for advice?
We put a lot of faith in our agronomist at Tyler’s Hardware and Rural Supplies, our grain broker and our accountants. We enjoy talking to other farmers and following farming groups such as BCG and Vic No Till.

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