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Dairy to Dream

Family farming in South Gippsland

Three hours outside of Melbourne in picturesque prom country, in south Gippsland, lies the lush green hills of Woorarra Dairies. Spread across six properties including 2 dairy farms with a total of around 1,400 milking cows, the dairy enterprise is owned and managed by Father Neil and sons’ Steve and Matthew – the two boys responsible for a dairy farm each. For Steve Throckmorton, it’s a busy life but he wouldn’t want it any other way.


“Farming is in my blood. I was born in Warrnambool on a sheep farm, then moved to Smithton in Tassie in 1988 with the family to work on my father’s farm. That’s where I finished high school,” Steve said. “My family moved back to Victoria in 1996 but I stayed down south for another year or two and worked on a dairy farm.”


These years away from the Australian mainland, helped Steve hone his farming skills. Back then, he was helping work 100 hectares of land which was home to around 300 milking cows. The gallons of goodness Steve helped to extract from the herds, was collected and transported direct to the nearby Cadbury Chocolate Factory. “It was hard work, but I learnt lots. Christmas was always a good time – there was guaranteed free chocolate nearly every year,” Steve recalled.


In 1998, Steve returned to Victoria and momentarily stepped away from life on the land, taking a job in Melbourne as a Fitter and Turner. But soon enough, the country came calling. “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” Steve said.


After nearly a decade working as a tradesman, Steve moved to Woorarra Dairy, to help his dad run the farm. It’s a family affair that continues to this day.

Today, Woorarra is home to Steve, his partner Carrie, and their two girls Kaylee and Mylah. Steve’s younger brother Mathew is always close by to ensure operations run smoothly. “It’s a real family affair but we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Steve said.


Early morning alarms and hard work are a daily occurrence, with the dairy producing thousands of litres of milk every year. “And our amazing and loyal crew, who make the wheels go round, are the reason why the farm is where it is today.”


“At our capacity, we have 600 to 700 milking cows at each farm,” Steve said. “The good cows will be doing 50 to 60 litres of milk per day. So that averages out to about 8000 litres of milk per cow, per year. We usually wake up at four in the morning and are milking by five. We generally finish up around 7am, then there’s an hour of cleaning and by 3pm the same day we’re back at it, doing it all over again.”  


Each day, a milk tanker rumbles down the road to Woorarra to pick up its milk. The liquid gold is then transported to Laverton in Melbourne, where its bottled and sent straight to the supermarket shelf.


With on-farm costs rising, Steve says the past few months haven’t been without their challenges but thankfully, milk remains in high demand. “The cost-of-living crisis has made things a bit tricky but at the end of the day, we get up and milk the cows because people love their milk. Who could blame them? It’s good for your bones!”


When he’s not milking the herd, Steve is kept busy with on-farm maintenance.


A self-confessed Kubota enthusiast, he has a collection of machinery to help keep the everything in tip-top shape. “We have a PH3600F Power Harrow, DSX-W GEOSPREAD Fertiliser Spreader, M7152 Tractor and U-27 Excavator, just to name a few,” Steve said. “We like our orange here. They really do a solid job.”


“The two-and-a-half-tonne U-27 excavator is good for just about everything – cleaning up, clearing the drains, scraping the footpath, putting in water pipes and all the other little jobs. The M7152 Tractor with the Kubota front loader is my go-to tractor. If I need to move some logs or feed out or even dig a hole, it’s the one I will use every time.”


The standout of the lot is the RTV1100C Side by Side, which comes complete with an air-conditioned and heated cabin. “It’s helped keep me cozy and warm on those freezing winter mornings. Now that I’m getting older, I want to be a bit more comfortable,” Steve said.


For Steve, it’s not just Kubota’s practicality and simplicity that keeps him coming back, but the friendly and professional service provided by his local dealer in nearby Morwell. “The crew at Massaro Motors are lovely and always give you a thorough explanation of every machine. They are professionals who have become my go to with any question I have,” Steve said. “It’s always good to be looked after and know you’ve got the machinery you can rely on.”


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