No more milking after 110 years

By Sophie Baldwin

Every single day for 110 years, a member of the Lostroh family has been up with the sun milking cows.

That was until recently, when Andy and Cathy Lostroh put their Cloverton herd under the hammer.

The couple, who farm near Finley, could no longer see a future for their dairy farm as they faced another year of zero allocation.

“Our family has milked cows for 110 years. We moved to the Riverina from the Darling Downs because of security of irrigation but we have just lost confidence, we didn’t have to get out we just chose to,” Mr Lostroh said.

The Cloverton cows had a touch of the unusual about them, considering they came from British Friesian bloodlines purchased from Gippsland.

“Initially we were looking at Jerseys but we thought they might have been too small to compete with other Friesians. We came across these and ended up buying 50 and a few bulls,” Mr Lostroh said.

He said British Friesians were a dual-purpose breed with good composition, ease of calving and longevity.

“The cows performed really well for us over the years. When we could feed them properly they averaged 8500 litres and we always had plenty of cows in-calf and plenty of animals to sell.

“Pulling calves was never an issue; we would just get up in the morning and a calf would be there.”             

Mr Lostroh said they reduced herd numbers leading up to the sale.

"Before the sale we had over 85 cows in our original herd that were over seven years old, so the breed certainly has longevity.”

The sale averaged $1485 with the A2 portion of the cows averaging $1600.

“The sale was a reflection of where the industry is," Mr Lostroh said.

"The buyers were very specific and anything that was A2 or the right calving time sold well, anything that fell outside of those parameters didn’t.”

He said it was a little ironic that you breed for longevity but anything that had a little bit of age on it didn’t sell.

He said buyers were spoilt for choice at the moment with the amount of people exiting the industry.          

“It’s a bit of a weird feeling to be no longer milking.

“We will do a cut of hay and put some agistment on and see what we do with the farm after that.”