Burnie dairy farmer Wayne Saward is swapping the footy boots for the Blundstone boots after retiring from football after 30 years of playing local football.
Mr Saward, 45, is a share farmer in a dairy farm at South Riana but has been involved with the dairy industry for about 25 years.
After hanging up the football boots, Mr Saward will focus full time on his dairying efforts.
The family is now coming into their fourth season as share farmers on the 800-plus cow dairy farm at ‘Blythe Vale’.
The farm is owned by AgCAP, the trustee and manager of the Sustainable Agricultural Fund.
AgCAP is developing a unique approach to share farming in Tasmania that draws together the traditions of family farming and combines them with non-farming investors.
One of the unique features of the AgCAP share farming arrangement is that the share farmers employ their own staff.
“We choose who works with us,” Mr Saward said.
“Every one of them has been with us since we started.
“Everyone knows what to do. We don’t have to talk about it when we get here. We all just go about our business.”
While the three staff look after the milking, Mr Saward and his son Alex are responsible for all the farm work – pastures, fertiliser, irrigation and moving cows between paddocks. Mr Saward’s wife Caroline is the specialist calf rearer. They also have two daughters Emilie and Shania.
During the past 25 years, Mr Saward, who started milking cows as a 17 year old in 1987. He has been an employee, a manager and a share farmer. He estimates he’s worked on eight or nine dairy farms in that time.
Under AgCAP’s system, the share farmers’ incomes are set at a guaranteed price for milk solids irrespective of what the processor pays. This reduces the risk for the share farming family.
Fluctuations in milk price are absorbed by the investors who have the added benefit of balancing their returns across the range of commodities within the group, which also includes cropping, cotton and beef.
“It’s a good system. We’ve been on thirds with share farming and there’s just too much cost. This is the best farm we’ve been on. We’ve got in front and we’re making good money.” Mr Saward’s departure from the local footy scene was celebrated in style when he played his final match with Yeoman alongside his three sons Alex, 23, Damian, 21, and Sam, 15. He has played for Yeoman for four years.
“It was good to play beside my three boys in my last match. I wanted to finish on a high,” Mr Saward said.