John Crittenden

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Walcha Dairy has been established for almost one year now. We manage to steal just a few minutes from manager John Crittenden’s very busy work schedule to see how things are going.

> When did Walcha Dairy first open?

We first opened after the property was purchased in Feb/March 2008. A 476 ha sheep and beef farm was converted into a highly productive dairy farm. Walcha Dairy first started productive operations around September 12th, 2008 with the arrival of 700 cows from Victoria.

> Who owns Walcha Dairy?

Notman Agricultural Services, Peter and Elaine Notman.

> Where are you from originally?

We originally come from Taree, and I have worked extensively in the dairy and poultry industries. My son Matthew is the assistant manager and our younger son Aaron is a trainee at the dairy. We also have a daughter Megan who is at UNE doing a Bachelor of Nursing.

> Describe a typical working day at the dairy …

We are up milking 800 cows at 5am and then again at 3pm. We are kept busy feeding 70 calves each day. There is always lots to do, with general farm work involved. Basically we are maintaining an 1,100 acre property.

> How much milk is the dairy capable of producing?

We produce 18,000 litres per day.

> How do you distribute the milk?

Our milk is sold to National Foods and sent to Sydney or Brisbane every 2nd day. The Walcha farm has storage for 40,000 litres.

National Foods is the only milk and juice business servicing the entire Australian market. It is the market leader in fresh milk and produces a range of full cream, flavoured and modified fresh and UHT milks, with leading brands such as Pura, Dairy Farmers, Moove, Farmers Union, Dare, Big M and Masters.

National Foods is also the leader in the fresh dairy foods market, where the company manufactures a range of yoghurts, fromage frais, dairy desserts and cream under brands including Yoplait, Fruche, Thick and Creamy, YoGo and Divine Classic.

> What type of technology and machinery is required for the dairy to operate?

The dairy has a hi tech computerised system, with milk meters. It is a 80 stand rotary dairy milking approx 400 cows per hour. Grain is fed on production calculated through a computer system daily.

> Are you breeding cows on the property?

Yes. All replacements will be bred on the property with artificial insemination. A second property has been leased for dry stock and young replacement stock.

> How does your dairy support the local Walcha community?

Lots of ways. We employ 4 full time staff and 4 casuals, who all live in Walcha district. We are working with National foods to promote milk at Walcha central school.

A National foods milkshake stand will be represented at Tiber Expo, with all proceeds donated to Walcha Central School. Most goods required on farm are bought locally in Walcha where available. Also, visits to the dairy by locals have been welcomed anytime.

> Thank you John.

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