The Holliss family are beef producers in the Pinkett district, southeast of Glen Innes on the Northern Tablelands of NSW. Running both stud and commercial Hereford cattle. The management of “Old Farm” covering 1618 hectares is a family affair Oliver & Colleen, Tony & Barb and sons. With three generations involved in the daily management and in longer term decision making, using a wealth of historical knowledge with the benefit of younger thinking & questioning. The Holliss family have always looked at opportunities to adopt new ideas, methods and technology where they can see a benefit for both business and the natural resources they manage.
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The natural resources we have are not new, they came about with careful thought, planning and management starting over 90 yrs ago with Albert and Clara Holliss. Now we can access information, equipment and technology to enable us to maintain, monitor and enhance what was started so long ago.
We aim to maintain at least 95% ground cover across the property, regardless of seasonal conditions and consider this one of the keys to successful management. This is comprised of a mix of native and improved pasture, including amongst others fescue and cocksfoot & lotus. Approximately 30% of our property “Old Farm” is covered in native trees and shrubs to provide shelter to livestock and pasture, and to provide habitat and connectivity to nearby neighbours Warra & Guy Fawkes National Parks.
We believe in running our core breeding herd and progeny at 15-20% less than we could carry in a normal season. Selecting genetics that can cope with our climate and still produce kilograms of beef enables us to operate with reduced numbers but also gives us room to buy and sell cattle according to seasonal conditions. The system has proved itself, as we have not drought-fed since 1982.
We see the biggest challenge in land management is the climate, and rainfall in particular. Being able to manage pastures and cattle successfully through the good and the bad seasons is about proactive management and building the resilience of the system. Our good groundcover levels work to reduce erosion, build soil organic matter, retain soil moisture, and importantly, act as an in-built shock absorber during dry times.