Home' Focus : Focus Magazine Summer 2014 Contents Former Australian dairy
farmer of the year and
Scotch Oakburn College
Alumni Grant Archer is
embarking on an exciting
new venture in the lush
green pastures of Liffey.
Cattle munch lazily in the verdant
paddocks in the shadow of Dry’s Bluff.
Builders hammer and bang their way
through major farmhouse renovations.
Irrigation workers arrive to discuss progress
on a new system.
In the centre of all this activity at Liffey is
leading Australian dairy farmer Grant Archer.
He is sitting at a makeshift table in the
farmhouse, surrounded by maps and plans
for his latest venture.
Grant and his wife Kim, a teacher, live
at Longford with their three children, who
all attend Scotch Oakburn College. Grant
and Kim have won a slew of awards for
their successful farming and share-farming
ventures, most notably the prestigious
Australian Dairy Business of the Year and
Dairy Farmer of the Year awards in 2012.
Their latest project involves building a new
dairy to milk 900 cows at Liffey. They started
with a 124-hectare block, and later bought
two nearby blocks of 134ha and 96ha. They
are currently milking about 530 cows but will
expand when a new 60-bale rotary dairy is
built. All going well, it should be completed by
The Liffey farm joins their portfolio of dairy
ventures. Grant and Kim own a dairy farm at
Mella, west of Smithton. They are also share-
farming with Bill and Jill Chilvers at Oakdene,
Symmons Plains, where they are milking 1060
cows on 300ha. Bill and Grant were in the
same class at Scotch Oakburn.
Grant, the son of Sally and John Archer,
grew up on a farm near Elizabeth Town. In
1986, when Grant was 20, the family moved
to Mella. He and Kim were married in 1995
and bought the Mella farm in 2002. This 323
hectare property with a herd of 950 is now
another share-farming venture.
In 2007, Grant and Kim left the Circular
Head area to be nearer to Launceston for the
education of their children. Mackenzie, 16, is
in Year 10; Bede, 14, is in Year 8; and Lawson,
11, is in Year 5.
“I really rated my time at Scotch Oakburn
and the school has gone ahead in leaps and
bounds so we wanted our children to have the
same opportunity,” Grant said.
Grant remains passionate about the dairy
industry and optimistic about its future. He
points to the infrastructure investment of
milk processing companies Lion and TDP at
Burnie and Smithton respectively, and the
development of new irrigation schemes.
“TDP produce milk powder and are possibly
looking at infant formula. They are chasing 250
million litres of milk a year. So far they have
only got 150 million litres. And Lion, with their
Burnie development, were chasing an extra 70
million litres. Fonterra still want to grow as well.
“So that’s good. That gives dairy farmers
confidence because we know that the milk
companies realise Tasmania is a good place to
Grant’s links with Scotch Oakburn date
back to 1979 when he started as a Year 7
student. He became a boarder during Year
8 and left at the end of Year 11 in 1983. His
three younger sisters, Jenny, Fiona and Prue,
followed him to the College. Even some of his
calves make an appearance at the school, in
the Cows Create Careers program.
“The thing I liked was the school spirit. If
the Head of the River was on in Launceston,
the whole school would turn up to cheer
them on. And the same with school footy if
Scotch Oakburn played Grammar. I remember
those days quite fondly,” Grant recalled. “The
education was good and I had a very good
Grant excelled at sport. He was captain
of the school badminton team and his tennis
team won the A Grade State premiership.
He continues to play tennis once a week at
The same drive to succeed is evident in his
dairying ventures. He attributes his success
to keeping costs down, the hard work of staff
and share-farming partners, and having the
right cows that suit his farming system.
Shadows from Dry’s Bluff may be falling
over the lush green pastures at Liffey, but
in the hands of Grant Archer, the future
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