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Guide to Tocal

Beef and dairy farms

The Tocal farms are operated as commercial enterprises managed by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and the CB Alexander Foundation. The Tocal farms are operated under the same market and environmental conditions as other local properties. All management decisions for Tocal enterprises take into consideration effects on the whole farm as well as the catchment area and environment in which it operates.

The farms are used by the CB Alexander campus of Tocal College for educational activities as well as for tourism to outside groups. The operations at Tocal include beef, dairy, chicken, horses and sheep.

Historically Tocal has a reputation as a progressive and innovative farm. Current management aims are to maintain this strong reputation by adopting best practice property management for livestock and land use practices, by balancing profit with environmental improvement, and providing excellent education opportunities for Tocal students.

Beef

The Beef section uses 1500ha of Tocal land to graze 500 Brangus cows. Each year approximately 450 calves are born and are weaned at 9 months. The major market focus is for store cattle (cattle that are sold to be fattened by others) but there is an option to fatten cattle if conditions on the property are suitable.

The beef section has attained Cattlecare accreditation, and employs the principles of the Prograze system of pasture management as well as landcare principles. Each year the students at the College operate a feedlot as part of their studies.

Horses

Australian Stock Horses are bred at Tocal for student training and stock work. This is a new significant growth area for Tocal, with a high demand for student education in horse husbandry, riding and handling skills, and for good quality, well trained horses. The foals are weaned and handled at five months old and broken in at two years by students under close supervision. After basic training the horses are then ready for more advanced training and work on the farm. The horses have successfully competed at local RAS shows as well as the Eastern Branch Stock Horse show. Tocal takes pride in the recent increase in demand for, and value of, Tocal's Australian Stock Horses.

photo of cattle

Dairy

photo of Tocal dairy

To survive the dairy has had to grow. It now operates an area of 70 ha of irrigated land and 230 ha of dry land. The Tocal dairy now has a milking herd of about 180 Holstein-Friesians with some Illawarras and representatives of other breeds. With heifer rearing and dry cows, approximately 360 dairy cattle are on the Tocal dairy farm at any one time.

Cows are milked twice each day, all year round, and the average production per cow is 23 litres per day. Total milk production per year has risen to approximately 1,430,000 litres. The herd is fully artificially bred and herd recorded, the semen being purchased from USA, Canada and Australia.

The dairy is based on permanent pastures with additional concentrate fed during milking. Each year over 300 tonnes of silage is made from surplus pasture and is fed out to the cattle when needed. The dairy is Cattlecare and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) accredited, as well as being EBL negative.