Local dairy farmers in BCU finals
ONE of the Coffs Coast’s oldest family farms is one of four finalists in the BCU Bill Ussher Agricultural Grant, which will be decided this month.
Bangalara Dairies at Crossmaglen has been farmed by the Bake family for 102 years, with Jason Bake the fourth generation of his family to cultivate the fertile flats and rolling hills of the Bonville property.
The BCU Bill Ussher Agricultural Grant was introduced by the Macksville-based Bananacoast Credit Union in memory of its first member and founding director and has grown into a fiercely-contested rural event, with farmers from South-East Queensland to the Mid North Coast vying for the $11,000 prizemoney.
Two Coffs Coast family farms are among the four finalists for the 2010 Grant – Jason and Michele Bake at Bangalara Dairies and hydroponic vegetable growers Geoff and Robyn McCann at Sandy Beach.
These days the 360-acre Bangalara Dairies is probably the largest single parcel of land left in the Crossmaglen area and the rural residential development that surrounds it poses unique challenges for the farming family, on top of all the other more usual challenges of dairy farming in a sub-tropical climate where farmers must battle heat and humidity to keep a 400-cow milking herd in top production.
Already the Bakes have outsourced their corn growing operation, leasing 80 acres of land at Bonville to grow corn for silage and sending their replacement heifer calves to a Missabotti calf-raising farm.