Farmer in Focus: Tyler Nelson

Can you give us some background of yourself and your farm?
I farm with my wife Kate and parents Paul and Jerri. Jerri works off farm too and my grandparents live on farm and help where possible.

I grew up around Boort and studied a Bachelor or Agricultural Science at The University of Melbourne after finishing school.

I naturally found myself back on the family farm during uni breaks and weekends. Once I finished my degree, my first year back full time was 2009.

We now farm several blocks north of Boort. 3000ha is cropped and is owned or sharefarmed. The majority is dryland, with some irrigation. The soil types range from heavy flood plain country to sandy loams.

Our main enterprises are grain and hay and we run 700 merino ewes. We transport the majority of our own hay and grain.

How does your farming operation work? Do you have specific set roles you focus on?
It’s like a circus sometimes! No, not really. Kate has taken on the books in the last few years and is taking a more active role. Rob and I (Rob is our full-time worker) do the majority of day-to-day tasks. Paul runs the truck and fills the gaps on the farm and office and makes sure the circus doesn’t get out of control. We will pull in contractors on major tasks if needed.

What is keeping you busy on the farm now?
Just the usual. There’s no shortage of office jobs that need attention and the truck is continually shifting a few loads of hay or grain a week.

We’ve just finished a few late in-crop spray jobs to clean up small areas of fallow. We’re spot spraying and spraying yards, gate ways and tracks etc.

We’re also doing some maintenance on channels, drains, outlets, pumps etc in preparation for irrigating. We plan to start irrigating this week and have prepared a small area for corn.

We are also shifting a few sheep around, weaning lambs, monitoring and feeding.

What have you changed on the farm in the past 10 years?
We’ve increased hay storage, bought a disc seeder (still learning), got some sheep back into the program about four years ago. We have had a play with some different crop types, most recently mixed species forage crops.

Apart from that its more about trying to do what we do better and more efficiently, not necessarily implementing massive change.

There is enough change from season to season to adapt to. We don’t need to create too much more.

What are your plans for the farm in the next few years?
Nothing special. Do what we do better, simply put. Ensure we maintain or improve the natural resources we manage and hopefully run a profitable business.

Where do you go for advice?
Anyone or anywhere respectable that will give it. I get advice from:
– our agronomist
– farm consultants
– our accountant
– other farmers and business people
– friends and family and
– farmer groups such as BCG

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