While we are well serviced by our core staff for most of the year in the broadacre program during the harvest period, we always have a need for a few seasonal staff.
The dryland broadacre program spans across 5,500 hectares consisting of barley, wheat, canola, lupins, vetch & hay. There is a mix of owned and leased land along with a share farm arrangement with long-term employee of Longtrail Farms and the businesses key broadacre employee David Philbey and with his wife Kat they include their farms in Parilla and Lameroo in the program.
The Southern Mallee offers a variation in soil types and like everywhere varies in climatic conditions. A rotation of crop types is important to manage the various risks that a broadacre farming business encounters. Like many farmers in Australia, Longtrail Farms made the transition to no-till farming in the early 2000’s and since has expanded the range of crops grown and improved productivity. .
Sowing the crop in April and May and harvesting in November and December, the majority of grain is exported with the rest retained on farm or sold domestically for stock feed, seed and hay.
The Southern Mallee region of SA is now the state’s largest, and one of the country’s biggest, producers of washed potatoes. The development of the Mallee Wells catchment area the past 20 years has seen the Mallee transform from a typical dryland farming community to one that now boasts strong employment. The development of irrigation and horticulture has been critical in stabilising the population of the region while other areas have declined.
Longtrail Farms currently produces approximately 320 hectares of potatoes destined for the washed fresh market. Washing and packaging takes place with partners, The South Australian Potato Company in Mt Barker.
Our focus is not on growing bulk supply to feed the masses, but rather to supply SA Potato Co with quality lines of potatoes providing partner and consumer confidence in the provenance and traceability of the premium produce.
Harvesting starts in December and January and is staggered until August and September. The management of the potato operation is a year-round job with dedicated service from the likes of our Irrigation Manager Ed Longstaffe. Especially during the warm Mallee summer, key full time operators like Chris Shawcross are witnessed alongside our valued seasonal staff who may only join us for a three month period to tick off their working visa requirements
We’ve recently commenced growing some spring and summer grain, oilseed and legume crops under irrigation such as chickpea’s, linseed and sunflowers.
While the livestock operation may not require the most amount of labour through the year, at peak times everyone has a go and helps out.
Currently running are 2,000 Merino ewes with half mated to Merino rams and half to white Suffolk’s.
60 Angus Cows with Trade Steers through the year, which value adds some of the hay, grain and potatoes that we produce.