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Bull Breeding Program
Over 40 years ago, in 1973, the decision was made to purchase a round baler so we could reduce the huge labour component required to produce and store and later feed around 10,000 small square bales per year that was required for our dairy and beef/sheep operation, which was spread over 3 properties. An agreement was reached with a few neighbours to do some of their hay into big rounds and this helped offset the cost of the baler. Contracting had been part of the Pearn (my mother's) family for three generations and I had already spent some years previous working with my uncles on their farm and with their agricultural and earthmoving contracting business.
In 1980 I began farming in my own right and continued with the baling business which then had an expanded client base. Later a decision was made to reduce the cropping part of my operation and grow the contracting as I was now working mostly alone as my father was nearing retirement and was spending most of his work time on my brothers dairy farm. It was when I purchased a new baler capable of baling grass for silage that the contracting business started to take off as there was a great swing to wrapped bale silage because of it lower labour requirement and lower capital input for farmers. Mower conditioners, v rakes and silage wrappers plus balers with crop choppers all became part of the ever increasing fleet of machinery.
The business continue to grow and in 2003 became known as 3D-Ag Contractors after the 600 acre Bishopsbourne property known as "The College" was sold to allow for a move toward semi retirement . Incredibly my great-great grandfather, John Davis Pearn arrived in Tasmania from Heredsfoot, Cornwall in England on 8th April 1858 and lived and worked for Mr Thomas on the very same "The College". Management of the Cluan properties was handed over to eldest son Heath. For the next 10 years Trix and I spent the winter months travelling the Eastern States of mainland Australia in a motorhome and later a 4wd and camper to the more remote areas of Western Australia and Cape York. Travel to overseas destinations was also a part of the winter activity. Meanwhile the contracting continued to expand and the services grew.
A truck and trailer was added some years ago to help move equipment to some of the more distant jobs and also for the delivery of bales for the fodder sales which has also become another arm of the business. The machinery fleet has continued to grow and is continually upgraded and now has a truck and trailer combination capable of carrying up to 36 five foot rolls, also there are now three New Holland BR model balers towed behind 130 hp to 150 hp Deutz tractors and a fleet of V rakes which are hired to clients who wish to do their own raking. Our main mowers are all 3.2 and 4 metre cutting widths which allows us to mow over 170 acres a day with 2 mowers in good operating conditions.
Our client base continues to grow as word spreads on the quality and reliability of our services. Our attention to detail to produce the best quality product possible under prevailing conditions for our clients is our top priority. As we are almost totally owner operators we do not rely on outside labour except in some peak periods. This means clients are only being charged while we are working, instead of all the time a hired hand is on site. We pride ourselves on our reliability and promptness of service. Unfortunately we have no control over the weather and sometimes during peak times there may be some short delays, not days and weeks like some other contractors. We have clients who have been with us for over 25 years and several are also 2nd generation. Interestingly, baling rates have increased about 5 fold whilst baler prices have increased about 8 fold since I began.
We are the preferred contractors for many clients who are leaders in their field and our operating area stretches over a radius of about 100 kilometres.
I have now relegated myself to hobby farmer status since the leasing of a 200 acre block on which to run about 100 head of Gelbvieh, Red Angus and Balancer beef cattle in conjunction with younger son Tim, who is a Territory Manager for Ridley stockfoods.
I began breeding stud beef cattle in 1973 with the purchase of several Charolais heifers and in 1989 introduced a Gelbvieh stud and more recently added Red Angus to complement the Gelbvieh and produce Balancers.