Coomboona Dairy owners have confidence in northern Victoria

By Geoff Adams

The developers of a leading NSW dairy business have invested in two large farms in northern Victoria.

Australian Fresh Milk Holdings directors Michael Perich and Quentin Moxey spoke to a Murray Dairy dinner last week about the principles that drive their business.

Of interest to the 100 people attending the dinner was the choice of the business to invest in large properties at Coomboona, and at Torumbarry.

Both men remarked they had some confidence in the future of dairying in northern Victoria and they had invested in the region as part of a strategy to diversify their holdings.

The Coomboona operation, formerly partly owned by retail entrepreneur Gerry Harvey, was recently given permission to expand its herd to 4900.

The company has also purchased and aggregated farms in the Torumbarry area to create a 4000 ha holding which will be used to raise heifers.

Their business at Goolagong in NSW milks about 7200 cows, and the whole business employs more than 200 people.

Mr Perich and Mr Moxey talked about their emphasis on people, their cows and their land, and how they use vertical integration in their business model, raising their own stock and growing their own crops.

“We try to align ourselves to the market and opportunities the market can afford us,” Mr Moxey said.

“If you don't take care of your people, your cows and your land, you are shot.

“We like cows, this is why we do it. We don't cut corners on facilities and investment or anything that will get in the way of the cows.

“And we are a HR company. We try to take care of our people.

“This is a significant dairy region and we think it's going to hold some control in terms of balancing national supply,” Mr Moxey said.

He said the contraction of supply in Queensland and NSW meant there would be more milk moved north.

“You guys have a big role to play in balancing national supply.

“We think there are some evolving farming systems that will develop here.”

Asked about the impact of high water prices, Mr Moxey said they were moving into the area at a time when temporary water was costing $500/Ml, and they had no background in paying cheaper prices, so they were factoring this into their operations.

Australian Fresh Milk Holdings is a partnership between the Perich and Moxey families, the Chinese New Hope Group and Freedom Foods.